In watching the first two games of the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trailblazers series, the most glaring need I’ve noticed is the absence of a healthy Brandon Roy. It pains me and basketball fans alike to see the Blazer swingman laboring up and down the court unable to make the plays that made him an all star in his second year and stamped him as a bonified star. Roy’s knee problems have accompanied him through high school, college, and his brief but successful career in the NBA. Unfortunately, those same knee problems will more than likely usher Roy into an early retirement.
In February of this season, Roy was informed that his career would last no longer than one or two more years. Subsequently, the Trailblazers have relegated Roy to coming off the bench and limiting his minutes in order to preserve his career. Watching the Blazers lose the first two games of this series serves as an indicator of the value a healthy Roy brought to the floor.
The Blazers have shown that they haven’t been able to get to the free throw line or score consistently in their two losses to open the series. Surely a healthy Brandon Roy could have aided the Blazers in both of those areas, because the current version has only been able to contribute two points in 34 minutes thus far. After playing only eight minutes in game 2, Roy shared that he was frustrated almost to the point of tears with his reduced role:
“There was a point in the first half, and I was thinking, you better not cry. I mean, serious. I mean, there was a moment where I really felt sorry for myself. Then I was like, nah, you can’t be sorry for yourself. I’m a grown man, but there was a moment there I felt sorry for myself. Especially when I think I can still help.”
Despite his frustration, Roy has remained professional insisting that he would continue to support his teammates and not complain.
“I thought I’d get more of a chance coming back, but at the same time I’m never going to complain. I’m going to try to work and just try to play.”
Although the circumstances of Roy’s knee injuries have reached the point where doctors have seriously recommended prayer, kudos should be extended to Brandon Roy for gutting it out and playing through the pain.
Once cemented as the future of the franchise, Roy has accepted a lesser role and done as the team has requested of him. I for one hope that Roy is able to overcome his knee problems as he did in college and his early years in the NBA resuming his career as a bonafide star.