NBA Analysis: What Should Blazers Do About Brandon Roy?

| by Dwight Jaynes

Look, I’m not a doctor and you’re probably not, either. And I’ve hesitated about even opening the door to this discussion for a while now. I’m not sure if it’s fair or if it’s out of bounds.

But the thing just won’t go away — I’m getting emails from people on a consistent basis about this and it’s one of those things people continue to talk about. It all started with a comment on this blog a short while ago:

Problem at the end of the day is – what changed between April of last year and October of this year.

Brandon isn’t the same Brandon, there was no injury and it has only been about 5 months. Players don’t change that vastly.

What I think is happening is fully Mental. I think that Brandon is currently struggling with a mental disorder, which would also shed light on many different things. His extended/continued summer visits with the psychologist, ego-inflation in the last 12 months, bi-polar reports, cannot run at all anymore… MORE IMPORTANTLY.

Is every obsessive OCD condition of wetting his fingers under his t-shirt. I watch it so much that it drives ME nuts….

I don’t think this problem is physical, I think the noodles upstairs aren’t functioning right.

And then came this follow-up email, which has been echoed, in various forms, from others:

Sure, Brandon slowed down a little bit last year – but the last 6 months (summer) have been night and day.
Brandon developed the OCD type “wetting fingers under jersey habit, sometime in the last 6-12 months”.
Brandon was very open about seeing a Psychologist over the summer and previous year.
Many of the opinions of Brandon Roy in articles have been very bi-polar. He says something, then changes up what he means by it later.
Brandon used to be a very humble guy, reading the articles now – his ego is extremely inflated….
When Brandon has left with knee problems this year, the ice doesn’t come out and there is no visible swelling.
The knee problems conveniently come out when he starts to fail clicking with the team in regular season.
We saw the same problem with Brandon in pre-season, before he had the stress on his knees. He looked just as slow.
There are more reasons you will start adding up in your head – but I think this is all made up. The Blazers would have to be secretive about this as well. You can’t talk about mental issues, not only from a legality issue – but for many other reasons.

I’m not sure what to think of all this but I will tell you this, if you’re watching Roy lately, just keep an eye out for the tapping and wiping the forehead thing. It goes on even when he’s dribbling the ball. A LOT. And the whole thing of sticking the hands under the jersey happens frequently, too.

I’m sure he’s probably always done some form of these things in the past, but I don’t know it’s been this often. It has no accelerated to the point that if you’re watching for it, it can hypnotize you. Don’t get me wrong, he’s still not in the league of Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, whose public battle on NBA courts with Tourette’s Syndrome led to all sorts of uncomfortable mannerisms.

What do these things mean for Roy? I’m not sure they mean anything. But Roy’s significant dropoff in performance is bound to bring a lot of scrutiny. Tender knees or not, the guy has had struggles with things like dribbling the ball, passing and finding open teammates that he never had before — things that don’t necessarily seem knee related. He’s also been pretty puzzling with some of his quotes, too.

And then came the game last night. He “tweaked” the knee again — twice. He certainly didn’t play well and I guess the tweaks could explain that. But he says he’s going to play tonight and sort of passed the knee tweaks off as only something that frightened him a bit.

The second tweak came at the tail end of a drive against Richard Jefferson, when he planted, felt a twinge, and lost the ball as he went to the ground. He recovered the ball and continued to play, but he said the sharp pain played tricks with his mind.

“After that, it was hard going to my right,” Roy said. “I was a little tentative with my left leg.”

Roy said the first tweak robbed him of his “explosiveness” and his “lift.”

“But you know, it’s something that is going to happen,” Roy said. “The good thing about it is, it’s not really painful now. A couple of weeks ago, it would linger a little bit longer, whereas now, it just kind of bothers me a little bit. Hopefully, it will be better tomorrow.”

I’m not sure what those quotes mean, really. The pain would have lingered longer a couple of weeks ago than it does now? Is this because his condition is somehow improving? Why? I would have thought, given that he says he’s “bone-on-bone” in both knees, that it couldn’t get better during a season. That only rest would help it get better, or some form of surgery — Or a heaping helping of some form of pain killers.

This is a player who only a day or two ago said he wanted to get rid of any playing-time restrictions. Who wanted to just go play. And a game later, he’s “tentative.”

I’m sure when a young player finds himself with an injury that could impact his entire career, it is tough to deal with. He must be going through some very difficult times, mentally.

And how that manifests itself is anyone’s guess.

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