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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

NBA: Blazers and Roy can only hope star guard can play

AP Sports Writer

PORTLAND, Ore. The night after Brandon Roy felt something in his knee go wrong he couldn't sleep, thoughts of 'what if?' tumbling though his mind. Maybe it wasn't so bad.

But the next afternoon he got the news, and it wasn't good. He had torn the meniscus in his right knee just as the playoffs loomed for the Portland Trail Blazers.

And for Roy, the consummate team player, it got even worse.

"It's tough. Especially being around my teammates, who are all like 'When are you coming back? You gonna play Wednesday?" It's hard to tell them that I don't know when I'm going to play again as far as this season," Roy said.

"It's difficult," he added. "It's really difficult."

Roy injured his knee in Portland's 91-88 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. The tear was discovered on Monday and that night he sat out of Portland's 103-95 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He'll also miss the regular-season finale against the Warriors on Wednesday night.

After that, it's anybody's guess.

Roy will rest and ice his knee for the next several days. He'll be reevaluated on Friday for his availability during the playoffs.

"Now, it's just a matter of if I can play, then I'll play as long as I can, and as long as we can as a team," he said. "And (I'll) have the surgery when the season is over. That's best case scenario for me, play as long as I can until the season is over."

What is certain is that Roy will need surgery, and he's been told the recovery time will be four to six weeks. Doctors say that he cannot damage the knee any further if he is able to play on it.

With the victory over the Thunder, the Blazers avoided the eighth seed in the Western Conference, meaning they won't face the defending champion Lakers in the first round. But because the conference is still largely undecided, Portland won't know its seeding or opponent until Wednesday night.

There are those who believe it's impressive the Blazers even reached the playoffs not to mention 50 wins given the injuries that have befallen the team.

Portland embarked on the season without starting forward Nicolas Batum, one of the team's best defenders, who injured his shoulder during camp and required surgery. Then came center Greg Oden, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, who mangled his left knee in early December and was out for the season after surgery.

Later that month, fellow center Joel Przybilla ruptured a tendon in his right knee and had season-ending surgery, too.

Along the way, swingman Rudy Fernandez missed significant playing time because of a sore back, and forward Travis Outlaw, later traded to the Clippers, sat out for an extended period with a right foot injury. Roy missed just more than a dozen games earlier this year with a sore right hamstring.

In all, 13 Trail Blazers have missed a combined 307 games because of injury, second only to the Golden State Warriors and the most of any playoff-bound team.

Even coach Nate McMillan was not immune. He ruptured his Achilles' tendon in early December while practicing with his short-handed team. He also needed surgery.

"It's been a bad year as far as injuries with our group and it's just something we've had to deal with all year long. It seemed like every few hours it got worse," he said.

Roy averages 21.5 points per game for the Blazers, along with 4.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds. He is the unquestioned leader of the team.

His absence would undoubtedly be felt by the Blazers in the playoffs. Speculation was rampant as to just how far the Blazers could hope to go without him should the injury prove too painful to play on.

"We'd love to have him but his health is the most important thing. We need him well for years to come," center Marcus Camby said.

McMillan is confident his team will find a way to compete just as it has all season.

"They just come to play," he said. "They don't make excuses. They continue to work and get tighter and find ways to win games."