By Ryan McNeill
When I arrived at the Air Canada Centre last night I was impressed to see Brandon Roy and Luke Babbitt battling on the floor. Babbitt and Roy were working on shooting jumpers, flashing through the lane for layups and fine-tuning their mid-range games with a defender’s hand in their face. Both players had a light sweat going and Roy appeared to be operating at close to game speed.
During Nate McMillan’s pre-game media scrum I was able to ask him just how close Roy was to being to suit up for games.
“We want to slowly work him back,” McMillan admitted to HOOPSADDICT.com. “Right now there is a 30 minute limit on his practice time on the floor. As he continues to work out, and depending on how he feels, we will slowly increase that and then make a decision upon when he can return.”
Working Roy back slowly isn’t something the team has done in the past. Just last April he had surgery on his right knee and then returned for the second round of the NBA Playoffs. While talking with McMillan it became clear the team has learned from this and they are in no rush to bring Roy back to the court until he’s fully recovered.
“You have to communicate with him and the doctors and just talk about his rehab and what is the best way for him to get back to floor healthy and ready to go,” McMillan explained to the media. “With him having those surgeries two months ago, his first practice or live scrimmage two days ago, the reality is you’ve got to slowly work him back.”
While talking with Roy last night he seems to think he’s only a couple of days away from returning.
“I think I’m a couple of days away from returning,” Roy told HOOPSADDICT.com. “I’m moving better and my wind is coming back. I really wanted to come back during this (road) trip but we only have one more game before the (All-Star) break and I think that is a good target date because then after that I’ll get a couple of days to get ready for the second half of the year.”
Still, that doesn’t mean Roy enjoys sitting on the bench while his team is in a tightly contested game.
“It’s tough,” Roy admitted to HOOPSADDICT.com while laughing. “A lot of our games are close so we’ve been fortunate to win a lot of them but that’s the hardest part. Watching games and knowing I’m feeling better and wanting to be out there but knowing I’m just not ready yet has been tough. I hate sitting on the bench. I hate watching. I would much rather be out there on the court.”