Brandon Roy Talks Ricky Rubio, How He Recovered From Knee Problems, and Portland Trailblazers
Brandon Roy started just 23 games two seasons ago because of knee injuries. (Photo: Reuters)
Brandon Roy is, without a doubt, one of the more intriguing players in the NBA this season. As recently as 2009, Roy was one of the top 10 players in the NBA, a bona fide superstar and franchise player. At the age of 26 at the time, it looked like his status as an NBA alpha dog would remain for years to come.
But then the long-rumored and long-hinted-at knee problems began, and within a year, he was reduced to a role player, within two, he was out of the league, citing retirement from degenerative knee conditions.
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Roy, apparently, has no more cartilage in his knees. It's bone-on-bone. That's not good at all, especially if you're a pro athlete playing a sport that requires jumping.
But somehow, Roy has healed enough that he's back in the league after only a year away. How?
Roy speaks to NBA.com today and revealed a little bit of details. Transcript below.
How do you go from bad knees to a new team?
It really is a crazy story. For me, I'm just happy to be back with the Wolves. For the last six or seven months after the whole amnesty and mesitting out, I had a conversation with my agent. I said, in my heart, I don't feel like I'm done playing basketball and I want to make a comeback. I told him with this coming back, I don't want to say that sitting on my couch. I want to get in the gym and start working and preparing for really coming back and giving it an honest effort. He called me and said there's a doctor down in Los Angeles doing the Regenecon procedure that alot of NBA players and baseball guys are having. he said it would be great to go down there and do it. I flew down there and had the proceduresdone and ever since then I've just been feeling really good. I started meeting with teams, Minnesota showed a lot of interest and I was justhappy to get a deal done and I feel extremely good being here.
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How will your game change?
Honestly, right now and all summer long, I've been preparing to not have to take a step back with my game. I'll be honest, some of the lift isn'twhat it used to be. But my explosiveness, my explosiveness to get to the basket, is good. More than anything, I think I'm a lot smarter of a basketball player. The NBA season is long and my body isn't what it used to be. Right now I feel great. Me and coach [Rick] Adelman are goingto sit down before the season and communicate throughout the year about how I'm feeling and what's the best way to get the most out of me. I feel great, right now there's nothing holding me back, I can go out there and play as much as I like.
How did you keep hope alive when knees were hurting?
The biggest thing was I went back over the situation. My last year in Portland, I had two knee scopes halfway through the year. I got down on myself and at the same time people around me got down on me. Also, I just had to say, 'Hey Brandon, you just came off two knee surgeries,you have to give your body some time to heal. And then after it heals you have to give yourself a chance to start strengthening it. Once I started to get back in the weight room, started working with trainers, started building up my quads and my calves, started to get my flexibility back.I went in the gym with a couple of friends of mine and I was like, 'Be honest, how do I look?' And they said, 'You would be crazy if you didn't playbasketball again. I felt really good but sometimes you need that outside opinion just watching you. It was tough, being out of the game, havingto constantly remind yourself that you're capable of it. Now that I'm in Minnesota, working out with my teammates and they say, 'Hey man, you look great, we can't wait to get out on the court with you,' it gives me even more confidence. It's something I'm going to have to continue tobuild. I'm excited about training camp, I'm going to try to improve there, and then look forward to my first preseason game.
Playing with Kevin Love
I'm really excited. He was the first guy to text me when I was meeting with Minnesota. The first thing I asked [Timberwolves president] DavidKahn was, 'How does Love feel that I fit in?' He was just real excited to have me. He texted to say he would love to have me on the team and hewas looking forward to training camp and improving. That made me feel great. Kevin Love had an incredible season last year and to cap it offwith the Olympic team and all those great players. I just want to come in next year and help them make the next step, which is to get to theplayoffs. Just so he can get that experience because I think he deserves it.
Leadership that you bring as a veteran
I hope it will be great. My biggest thing is that I try to lead by example. I try to be one of the first guys in the gym. I try to make sure guys see mein the weight room, see me getting my treatment. When I'm on the court, I just try to perform. I'm not one of those rah rah guys. When I'mplaying, I try to do the things to help my team win. When guys see that, they'll want to be a part of it. Right now, we've got a great group of guys.Management has done an unbelievable job of bringing in a lot of guys good pieces that fit. Guys who have been a part of winning. Hopefully just leading by example, pushing guys to get better and wanting to take that next step. Understanding that it's not just going to happen because we have good players, we have to get in and put the work in, starting now, and try to carry it over to training camp.
Seen Ricky Rubio?
I sat out last year so I had a chance to watch a lot of basketball. It's funny, when I was watching, I wasn't watching like I used to, like, I have tocompete against this guy I want to see what he can do. I was watching as a fan. I watched as a fan last year, not just all the big stars but especially guys like Ricky Rubio, I was very interested to see how he would perform in the NBA. He was one of those guys who people kind ofgot down on because his numbers weren't great overseas, but when he came here, he was just great. The biggest thing that stood out to me isthat he's a winner. He will go out there and score two points but he wants to get 13 or 14 assists, he wants to get his teammates going. Me, sitting at home, of course that's the type of guy you want to play with, he can get you shots. Making this comeback, I'm looking forward to Rubio getting over his knee injury. We want him to take his time and come back when he's 100 percent ready to get out there. But I'm excited to play with a guy like him, he can create for me. A guy like Love, I can get some pick and rolls, he can pop and get some easy shots. There's a lot of good pieces here and I'm excited to be back in the NBA fold.