MINNEAPOLIS (AP/WCCO) — Brandon Roy isn’t ready to give up on his NBA career quite yet.
Roy issued a statement on Saturday saying he will seek further treatment on the chronic pain in his knees in hopes of continuing his comeback attempt with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“The past two days I have been weighing all my options as I try to continue my basketball career,” Roy said. “I have decided to explore additional treatment options and an extensive rehabilitation plan. My goal has been, and continues to be, to return to the basketball court as healthy as possible in order to help our team.”
The three-time All-Star initially retired as a member of the Portland Trail Blazers before last season. Pain created by a lack of cartilage in his knees robbed Roy of the smooth, shot-making game that made him one of the league’s best shooting guards and a building block of the Blazers franchise. But he underwent platelet-rich plasma therapy over the summer after sitting out the season, then felt good enough to attempt a comeback this year. The Timberwolves lured him away from other suitors including Dallas, Chicago and Golden State with a two-year, partially guaranteed deal, and things were looking up for Roy and the Wolves during a promising training camp.
During a preseason game against Milwaukee, Roy knocked knees during a collision with Ersan Ilyasova, and it has been all downhill since. He had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in November, then returned to practice Thursday and expressed optimism about possibly playing against the Suns on Saturday. But Roy was unable to practice Friday and was not present at the shootaround prior to the game against Phoenix.
He’s gone back and forth the last two days, weighing retirement against more medical treatment, and more rehab. Timberwolves president David Kahn was vague on the specific treatment that Roy would be receiving, but said the team hopes to start seeing some results in three to four weeks.
The Timberwolves had set up for a possible press conference in the Target Center media room earlier on Saturday, with many speculating it was for a retirement announcement. But it was taken down by late afternoon and the team didn’t comment on the reason for it.
“We’re hoping for the best and preparing for the worst, meaning I think the team has to prepare as if it may not work, and do what’s necessary,” Kahn said. “Having said that … I’m rooting for him, and am hopeful it will work, but we have to proceed as it may not and thus have to be very open in what we do.”
That would appear to leave every option on the table, including making a trade to address the team’s lack of depth at shooting guard.
Roy has played in only five games this season, averaging 5.8 points and 2.8 rebounds. He hasn’t played since Nov. 9. The two-year deal, $10 million contract he signed with the Wolves pays him $5 million this season, but is not guaranteed next season. According to the collective bargaining agreement, the Wolves could get the $5 million in cap room back this season by early January if he does retire. The option on his contract, which would allow another team to wipe that money off the books next year, also could be have some interest in the trade market.
“I thought we had a very healthy and open exchange about, we know that we need to protect ourselves in every way,” Kahn said. “He does as well. He understands that we have to do what’s best for the team. He acknowledges that, and he actually was encouraging of that.”
It’s a tough break for the Wolves as well, who were hoping Roy could give them 25-30 minutes a game this season as the veteran perimeter player who could break down a defense and get his own shot late in games that they were sorely lacking. Rookie Alexey Shved is off to a promising start in that regard, but is still gaining experience and has been inconsistent. The Wolves lost Josh Howard and Malcolm Lee to injuries as well and were missing Ricky Rubio because of back spasms against the Suns, leaving them with three healthy guards.
“The league doesn’t wait for you,” coach Rick Adelman said. “They don’t stop the games and give you reprieve. You’ve just got to keep playing.”
Adelman said he does feel for Roy, a 28-year-old who is facing quite possibly the end of his playing career if things don’t take a dramatic, and at this point unexpected, turn for the better.
“He worked really hard to try and comeback and he had that setback,” Adelman said. “Now he’s struggling again. It’s really up to him as to how much he can do and if he can come back.”
Listen to Kahn’s pregame press conference in full below.
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