It’s nice to finally get an explanation of what is actually going on with Brandon Roy — and it turns out it’s his left knee, which isn’t the one that was repaired prior to the playoffs last spring. Not sure what it is with this team that coming clean about injuries — and the condition of injured players — has to be such a mystery all the time.
People are buying tickets to these games (or not, because there were a lot of empty seats at last night’s “sold out” game in the Rose Garden) in good faith and deserve to know if the participants are healthy. I mean, this is a professional sport — not some high-school deal where you hide your injuries from the other team. The dancing around this for the last few days led to all sorts of speculation on Roy and why he wasn’t playing well.
It’s important that he get a definitive diagnosis right away, so that any work that needs to be done can be taken care of prior to the post-season. And I have to say, the way he’s been playing, the team will do better without him. Without his ability to beat his man off the dribble, to work free for open shots and to elevate at the basket, he’s just not contributing much.
Going into last night’s game, Roy was shooting under 40 percent from the floor. That was notable because according to the Elias Sports Bureau, over the last two seasons there was NEVER a time when he shot under 40 percent over ANY eight-game stretch. It just didn’t happen.
The team has junked all its isolation plays and I have to tell you, it’s better off for it. The most encouraging sign to me this season is that Portland is showing much more ball movement and player movement in the half court. There is also a bit of a trend toward a few more fast-break points without him.
Look, I’m not saying the team doesn’t miss a healthy Brandon Roy. It would be a monumental loss not to have him this season, for whatever reason. What I’m saying is this — if he’s going to be playing hurt all year, it would be much better for him to just get the repair work done and turn his position over to Rudy Fernandez and/or Wesley Matthews.
Roy has obviously been unable to be himself and at that level of play, he’s been able to perform up to his high standards only infrequently. You watch him struggle and feel bad for him because it has to be extremely frustrating.
And frustrating for fans, too, who have been treated to a steady stream of injuries to key players for two seasons now. But the only answer to these things is patience — get the necessary repairs, hold the fort down and use the solid NBA players who are prepared to play.