Brandon Roy addresses the media, again (Getty Images)
If you feel like you’ve read this same Brandon Roy update before, it’s probably because you’ve been following the guy’s attempts to sustain a healthy pair of knees for ages. Concerns over Roy’s health have been in place since before the 2006 NBA draft, when he fell to the Minnesota Timberwolves, who immediately traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers. For a time, it appeared that the Blazers got the two best players in that year’s star-crossed draft, only to watch as Roy’s knees forced him into an early “retirement” that he wanted nothing to do with.
Roy emerged from that enforced retirement with a spot on the Minnesota Timberwolves, a team that may have been too giddy in chasing down Roy some eight months after he and the Blazers parted ways. Immediately after Brandon’s start to the 2012-13 campaign it became apparent that Roy clearly wasn’t up to the standards of even his hamstrung production as a Blazer helper in 2010-11. And now, after undergoing yet another knee cleaning procedure last November, Roy has admitted to considering a self-imposed retirement for the first time.
While performing a move in the first 20 minutes of the workout, he felt something in his right knee that he has felt far too often. He tweaked it, eliminating any possibility of him returning to action before the All-Star break.
“As soon as it happened, in my head, I said 'I quit. I just quit,” an emotional Roy told CSNNW.com. “That was my first thought, that I couldn't do this anymore.
“I'm at a crossroad in my career.”
He's certain that if he can't get right this season, it will be the end of his career. And he's fine with that.
“I look at it like this has got to be the last season,” he said. “I don't have any regrets because I know I tried to give it another season. So me saying this has to be the last season, it's not as difficult as it was last year. I tried. I gave it that last effort and it's time to move on. I'm at that range to where I'm at peace with things.”
That’s what makes this story different from the usual batch of “Roy hopeful for a healthy return” documents. He’s not considering retirement, the comments about that end were just a blip from last week as he worked his way through a trying rehabilitation process. But he mentioned considering it, which is a strong shift from someone who seems capable of taking on quite a lot.
Remember, this is the guy that could have walked away with millions in insurance cash over a year ago. Instead, he’s been attempting to work his way back to acceptable NBA health in spite of having little to no cartilage in his knees. Cartilage, for those of us who didn’t go to medical school, is the stuff that makes it so our knees don’t hurt when the big bones in our legs rub together. Without the stuff, and you can ask anyone whose rise from the coach is greeted by pops coming from the knee area, life is a pretty painful existence.
This is what Roy is attempting to work through. And before you call his efforts a cash grab, understand that Brandon would be making both Blazer and Timberwolves money even if he weren’t trying to earn his way back to the active roster. Again, he could have given up both in 2011 and late 2012, and the guy continues to fight. Because he doesn’t really feel like the retiring type, at age 28.
“I just took a deep breath,” Roy explained to Haynes in discussing his latest setback, “and told myself that I've been through this stuff before.”
We all have, in following Brandon’s attempts to return. What we’re left with is hoping for a new sort of story to write about the guy. One that ends with him hitting a few turnaround jumpers in the days after we talk up his return on our laptops.
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