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Blazers Radio Voice Brian Wheeler Takes Leave of Absence

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Wheeler will reluctantly miss the beginning of the regular season due to a health issue.

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The radio voice of the Portland Trail Blazers, Brian Wheeler, will miss the team’s final preseason game on Friday, as well as the first three games of the regular season in Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Milwaukee, with a returning health issue, according to Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest. Wheeler, 55, suffers from scrotal lymphedema, also known as scrotal elephantiasis, which has made it challenging for him to sit through broadcasts.

“I’m in a lot of discomfort,’’ Wheeler said after calling Wednesday’s game at Phoenix. “The hard part is the condition has now made it somewhat painful just to sit for extended periods, such as the length of a game. The entire preseason I was standing during every timeout by the third quarter … to no avail.’’

Scott Lynn, a former Portland radio and television personality who now lives in Florida, will fill in for Wheeler for the opening games of the season at Phoenix, Indianapolis and Milwaukee.

Wheeler, who signed a contract extension with the Trail Blazers on September 15, hopes to return to broadcasting by the team’s home opener against the New Orleans Pelicans on October 24.

Official press release:

PORTLAND, Ore. (October 12, 2017) –Portland Trail Blazers radio play-by-play voice Brian Wheeler is taking a personal leave of absence effectively immediately, it was announced today by the organization. No specific timeline has been set for his return. The 2017-18 season is slated to be Wheeler’s 20th behind the microphone for the Trail Blazers.

For tomorrow’s final preseason game versus Maccabi Haifa from Israel, AM-620 Rip City Radio’sTravisDemers will call radio play-by-play. He will be joined for color commentary by former Trail Blazers player and current television studio analyst Michael Holton.

Long-time Portland radio and television broadcaster Scott Lynn will return to the Pacific Northwest to handle radio play-by-play duties for the team’s season-opening road trip beginning next week. Since leaving Portland in 2014 to move to Florida, Lynn has continued his broadcasting career calling University of Tampa and Eckerd College men’s and women’s basketball; and University of Tampa baseball. He last filled-in on Trail Blazers radio broadcasts in November 2013.

“This was a difficult decision for Brian, but one that we agreed was in his best interest,” said Chris McGowan, President and CEO of the Trail Blazers and Rose Quarter. “We support Brian and wish him well, and look forward to his return.”

“Nothing pains me more than to be away from this Trail Blazers team and our amazing fans,” said Wheeler. “I’m appreciative of the organization’s belief in my talent as a broadcaster, and for their understanding of my need to manage these personal matters. I look forward to returning to the microphone very soon.”

Trail Blazers games are helmed on radio flagship AM-620 Rip City Radio, and extend around the region across the 21-station Trail Blazers Radio Network. “Wheels,” as Wheeler is affectionately known by fans, is one of the longest-tenured radio broadcasters in the NBA thanks to his two decades in Portland and 33 years of overall broadcasting experience. Of the 30 NBA franchises, only seven have radio play-by-play broadcasters who have called their games longer than Wheeler has voiced the Trail Blazers. Last month, the Trail Blazers announced that Wheeler had signed a multi-year contract extension.

The Trail Blazers will tip-off the 2017-18 regular season beginning October 18 with road games at Phoenix, Indiana and Milwaukee, before returning to Portland for their home opener versus New Orleans on October 24. Tomorrow’s preseason finale at Moda Center versus Maccabi Haifa begins at 7 p.m.