When Brandon Roy announced last week he has no meniscus left in either knee, Trail Blazer fans let out a collective groan louder than fans in the 300 section of the Rose Garden cheering for a free chalupa.
Does the team have another Greg Oden on its hands? We hope not. But as the injuries pile up for the Blazers, so have the questions about the team’s training staff, front office, scouts and even coach Nate McMillan. Someone needs to be held accountable for a lapse in judgment that threatens the future of Roy and the entire organization, since Roy is the franchise centerpiece with his five-year, $82 million maximum contract.
The Trail Blazers organization earns Rogue status for allowing Roy to play in a meaningless early November game last weekend when he was clearly hurt.
Nobody is asking people to feel sorry for a multimillionaire basketball player. But if Roy wanted to risk his knees by playing, the team should have said no. And if he didn’t want to play, it’s that much worse.
Neither Roy nor the team is publicly saying anything beyond the injury being a day-to-day thing. But this much is clear: The NBA season is a long grind, and taking a few weeks off—especially given that freshly signed free agent Wesley Matthews is practically begging for minutes off the bench—might just help Roy’s achy joints.
And if Roy’s four knee surgeries since high school continue to hurt him to the point where he becomes a tentative outside shooter and offensive decoy, why is he even out on the court in the first place?
Many fans have theorized that, after so many years of injuries to the team’s big men (Bill Walton, Sam Bowie, Oden), the Blazers must be cursed. But watching Roy hobble around the court during the first half of a loss to the New Orleans Hornets on Saturday, Nov. 13, it’s clear it’s not a curse but a management issue here when the franchise feels compelled to have its marquee player limp through the 11th game of an 82-game season.
“The problem is bone-on-bone,” Roy told The Oregonian last week. “It’s just something I’m going to have to deal with for the rest of my career.”
If it’s really Roy’s career—and not just this season—at stake at age 26, then he needs to be allowed to rest for a while instead of taking pride in toughing out a road trip in November.
If the Blazers don’t figure this situation out and Roy needs another surgery, it won’t just be the Rogue desk calling bullshit, but an entire city of basketball fans.