Posts Tagged ‘Oregonian’

Another Knee Surgery For Roy

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Brandon Roy‘s career-long battle with his knees will take another turn this week when the Minnesota Timberwolves swingman undergoes yet another procedure (arthroscopy) on his right knee, according to a report by Jason Quick in The Oregonian.

This will be Roy’s fifth knee surgery, the first since he made his miraculous comeback from retirement, and his seventh dating back to his high school days in Seattle.

There is no timetable for his return from this latest setback.

Roy’s play in the preseason stirred excitement that he might be ready to return to the form that saw him earn three All-Star nods in five seasons in Portland, where he was the face of the franchise before taking a medical retirement in December of 2011 because of arthritic and degenerative knees.

After a year off and getting treatment on his knees, Roy made his comeback with the Timberwolves. But he played in just five games, shooting just 31 percent from the floor and averaging 5.8 points, 4.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds for a team that has had to battle without injured stars Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio through this early stretch of the season.

Roy’s troubles began before the regular season began, though, per Quick:

He banged his right knee in Minnesota’s final preseason game on Oct. 26 against Milwaukee, forming a bump and a bruise. He said he later aggravated the knee when a teammate bumped him in practice, then again on Nov. 9 in the first half against Indiana. He did not play in the second half of the Indiana game, then missed the next four games.

On Thursday in Minneapolis, Roy was still hopeful he would be able to play Friday in Portland, where he spent his first five seasons. But he said no matter what happens the rest of this season, he has no regrets.

“I wouldn’t be disappointed either way,’’ Roy said. “If it ends in three weeks, it ends. It’s over. I’m totally satisfied with what I’ve done. I know the sacrifice and the effort that I put into coming back. It took a lot of discipline to get to where I am, That’s all I care about: how hard I’ve worked.’’

The Timberwolves didn’t bank on Roy playing like the All-Star he was earlier in his career, although it would have been a nice bonus for a team with playoff aspirations. They signed him to a two-year deal that pays him $5.4 million this season with a second year that was non-guaranteed.

If Roy doesn’t meet certain standards for games played and other goals, this could very well be the last time we see him on the NBA stage.

Another Knee Surgery For Oden

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Just the words Greg Oden, knee and surgery are enough to make us cringe these days.

Even though it’s supposed to be a routine, cleaning of debris, per the report from Jason Quick of the Oregonian, we can’t help but be a little nervous about Oden going in for his fourth knee surgery since he was drafted with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 Draft.

It’s his right knee this time, but at this point, it’s a tough pill to swallow either way. More on what exactly he is dealing with this time from the Oregonian:

The right knee has not given Oden problems since 2007, when he had microfracture performed before the season started.

His left knee was the knee in question during his December visit in Vail, Colo., when the team deemed he had suffered a setback because of an issue with a non-weight bearing ligament in his knee.

Oden, who turned 24 last month, has not played in an NBA game since December of 2009, when he fractured his left patella. After rehabilitating from that injury, Oden never made it back, having to undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee in November of 2010.

How could a player blessed with so much potential be cursed with such bad injury luck is beyond our comprehension here at the hideout. You only hope that Oden recovers from this latest setback and one day has a chance to at least attempt to make more out of his career than the 82 games he’s played since coming into the league.

Unfortunately, we will all be left to wonder what might have been had this young behemoth ever stayed healthy enough long enough to do more than show flashes of being a challenger to the throne of being the best big man in the league.


Paul, Felton Thriving In New Locations

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HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — We saw all of your complaining last week when we praised the Los Angeles Clippers for finally stepping up and trying to court the rabid hoops fan base that’s been sitting in their backyard for decades. We read all the digs Lakers fans delivered and processed each and every swipe.

But we’re also well aware of what goes on when a true superstar is added to the mix of an up and coming team and just how important it is to have the right quarterback in today’s NBA. That’s why we’re still watching the Clippers’ every move, and ignoring the venom.

Sunday’s Clippers-Trail Blazers game offered up the perfect case study on the importance of the right point guard for the right situation, as both Chris Paul of the Clippers and Raymond Felton of the Trail Blazers displayed their wares, and why the Clippers must be taken seriously with Paul at the helm.

Paul has the ability to take over games in ways that only a select few players in the league can. He was brilliant down the stretch against the Trail Blazers, executing on both ends of the floor as he and his crew handed the Trail Blazers’ their first loss of this season.

Helene Elliott of The Los Angeles Times nailed it with this postgame assessment of Paul’s impact:

Faced with losing a 17-point lead over Portland on Sunday in a game the Clippers considered a measuring stick of their progress after being spanked by San Antonio and Chicago, Paul simply took over and refused to let them lose.

He steadied his teammates’ nerves with his poise, elated them with his shotmaking and wowed them with his ability to win a crucial jump ball against a five-inches-taller Jamal Crawford with 4.3 seconds left.

If not for his leadership the Clippers would not have celebrated their first home victory this season, a gutsy 93-88 decision over the Trail Blazers that inspired the crowd to chant his name in tribute for what figures to be the first of many times.

“Great players can not only make shots but, more importantly, make plays,” Clippers Coach Vinny Del Negro said, “and Chris can do both. That’s what makes him special.”

Lost in the aftermath of Paul’s dazzling performance is the fact that Felton has provided the perfect match for Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan, who has run through a long list of point guards during his tenure. It’s one of the only criticism we have of McMillan, a longtime HT fave.

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Labor Talks: Step Back And Listen

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If we are indeed on the verge of yet more of the NBA regular season being chopped down by the stalled lockout negotiations, perhaps it’s time for the sides involved to take a breath.

Maybe we all need to take a step back and listen to what both the owners and players are trying to say about their positions. We tried our best Monday to provide the proper forum for you, the fans of the game, to speak your mind about where you stand. And we’ve heard in detail exactly where the league stands in regards to this latest impasse.

Listening to union executive director Billy Hunter on The B.S. Report with Bill Simmons of Grantland.com provided a drama- free opportunity to hear Hunter’s argument and try to grasp how we got here and where we might be headed. (You need to carve out an hour to listen. It’s an absolute must-listen, especially the part when Hunter reveals that he and NBA Commissioner David Stern are fraternity brothers.)

The finger-pointing that marked last week’s breakdown in talks was pleasantly absent from this conversation, which made it much easier to wrap your head around exactly why the players feel the way they do toward the owners, who have come under considerable fire themselves since last week.

And for those of you who enjoy a tidy list, our friends at the Los Angeles Times have compiled an easy-to-read roster of exactly where all 30 owners stand on the lockout.

ALLEN UNDER FIRE

Portland owner Paul Allen has been the most talked about member of the owner’s side since last week, both in Portland and beyond. Whatever his role was in last week’s breakdown of talks, he’s being fingered as the man whose presence led to a severe crack in the process.

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Trail Blazers’ Aldridge Is No Optimist

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – If you’re looking for a mood-booster this week now that the NBA lockout is into its mid-50s in terms of days, LaMarcus Aldridge is probably not the man you need to listen to.

The Portland Trail Blazers star didn’t mince his words when asked about his feelings on the subject. In fact, his blunt response is another sign that things will probably get a little uglier before they get better as the lockout nears the conclusion of its second month.

When asked if he sees even a flicker of light at the end of the lockout tunnel, Aldridge told the Oregonian‘s Joe Freeman that he did not:

“No,” Aldridge said, when asked if there was reason for optimism. “Both sides are pretty (far) off right now. So it’s going to be a while.”

Aldridge, who is the Blazers’ player representative in the NBA Player’s Union, said he does not expect the season to start on time but does believe there will be a season eventually. That said, he is prepared to sit out all of 2011-12 if necessary.

“If that’s what it takes to get a fair deal done, then yes,” Aldridge said.

Aldridge has become so pessimistic he’s joined the growing list of NBA players who are considering playing overseas during the lockout. He refused to go into great detail about what international leagues he’s investigating or what country he would like to play in, but Aldridge said if the lockout drags on he will explore his options.

“I’ve thought about it; it’s a possibility,” Aldridge said. “My agency is looking into it.”

The NBPA is conducting regional meetings this week, in New York (today) and Chicago (Thursday), so there is a chance we will hear more from some of Aldridge’s peers in the next 48 hours.

We’re hoping someone has a more positive outlook on things than Aldridge does, but we’re not counting on it.

Patience, my friends, is the most important virtue at this time.

Another Strange Twist In Portland

OKLAHOMA CITY – The news of Rich Cho‘s firing as general manager in Portland after barely a year (10 months to be exact) on the job stunned as many people here as it did back in Portland and around the league in general. Cho, a former assistant general manager to Thunder GM Sam Presti, worked for this organization for years and was beloved by all who crossed his path.

So what in the world could have gone wrong in such a short period of time that it ends with Cho, a rising star and easily one of the most likeable men in the basketball business, being relieved of his duties?

As TNT’s David Aldridge made clear, this was much more about bad chemistry than it was about Cho’s performance or the performance of his staff or the team.

After yet another failed chemistry experiment with a general manager, however, it’s becoming increasingly clear that this has nothing to do with the men chosen for the job and everything to do with the folks doing the choosing.

John Canzano of the Oregonian details it impeccably and also has a stern warning for job seekers thinking about the Blazers as a potential destination:

Don’t be awkward. And also, hope the awkward owner likes you.

Also, keep your head down, and smile, and shake hands. Sell your home and move your family to Portland, as Cho did a few months ago. Print up business cards and hand them out. Mostly, though, yuk it up with the big brains at Vulcan Inc., best you can. (Read: Nod a lot when they talk to you.)
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No Easy Fix For Blazers’ Roy Issue

PORTLAND – Suddenly the Portland Trail Blazers have more than just the Dallas Mavericks to worry about. Those defensive rotations, that 0-2 hole in their first round playoff series and anything else that needs to be cleaned up suddenly takes a backseat to some internal strife that cannot be ignored.

Blazers swingman Brandon Roy vented his frustrations about his reduced role after a Game 2 loss in Dallas Tuesday night, suggesting that he should have been on the floor more despite struggling mightily in this series so far.

After playing just eight scoreless minutes Roy opened up to the Oregonian:

“There was a point in the first half, and I was thinking ‘You better not cry,”’ Roy said. “I mean, serious. I mean, there was a moment where I felt really sorry for myself. Then I was like, nah, you can’t be sorry for yourself. I’m a grown man, but there was a moment there that I felt sorry for myself. Especially when I think I can still help.”

“I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little hurt, or disappointed,” Roy said. “But the biggest thing is to keep moving, to try and keep my spirits up. But it’s tough man. I just …. I just always thought I would be treated better. That was a little disappointing for me.”

Roy’s comments have drawn a mixed reaction from fans here in basketball-mad Portland, where the Blazers’ robust and loyal following have had to deal with a multitude of crunching injuries to key players the past few years (Greg Oden).

As of early Wednesday afternoon, nearly 63 percent of the participants in an Oregonian poll voted that Roy should not see more minutes in Game 3 of this series Thursday night at the Rose Garden.

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Will Roy Be A Factor?

DALLAS – Brandon Roy has gone from the All-Star anchor of a playoff team in Portland to the X-factor, off the bench, for that same team.

Roy is also in the middle of a simmering controversy between Trail Blazers fans, some who want him out of the way and others who have a hard time seeing the one-time face of the franchise cast aside while his career is in the midst of being ravaged by knee injuries.

As Oregonian columnist John Canzano points out, Roy, who gets much more respect from opposing coaches, players and fans than he does from the folks back in Portland, doesn’t deserve their scorn:

“If Roy died right now the Blazers would be better off. I’m starting to think that’s what it might take to get him out of here.” – Mike, Salem

Before practice, I asked Roy if he hears the criticism from Blazers fans, who email me and flood online comment boards. Nevermind the scoreless first half by two starters in Game 1. Nevermind the free-throw disparity. Nevermind that Portland held Dallas without a field goal for 11 beautiful minutes with the three-time All-Star on the court in the second half.

The loss is Roy’s fault, right?

“I heard a guy at the Rose Garden the other night, yelling that I needed to get off the floor,” Roy said. “I heard it. It hurt. I noticed it, not going to lie. I’m struggling to fit in. But it bothers me more than anyone when I feel like I’m out of rhythm.

“I’m doing my best.”
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About Last Night: Green Machines

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Too bad the Trail Blazers didn’t continue the St. Patrick’s Day theme by sporting green uniforms. That would have meant all three winning teams from last night rocked the green.

The green worked well for the Bulls and Knicks, but the Blazers didn’t really need to make a fashion statement to dispatch the lowly Cavaliers. The Bulls continue their domination of the competition this month, winning their eighth straight game and reclaiming their half-game lead over the Celtics for the No. 1 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.

And to think some of you disagreed with our take last week about Derrick Rose being the frontrunner for MVP honors. He’s getting from all sides these days, including at opposing arenas, per our main man K.C. Johnson the Chicago Tribune:

The “MVP” chants occur in every arena now, including Thursday night in Prudential Center as the Bulls beat the Nets 84-73. If they eventually become reality, Derrick Rose will supplant Wes Unseld as the youngest most valuable player in NBA history.

Rose, 22, also will become the first player to win the award in his third season since Moses Malone in 1978-79. Michael Jordan won his first after his fourth season in 1987-88.
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Knuckle Up!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Desperate times call for desperate measures.

And prior to Sunday’s game at the Rose Garden, the Portland Trail Blazers and Los Angeles Clippers were the living, breathing, jump-shooting and dunking embodiment of desperate.

The Blazers were trying to snap a six-game losing streak. The Clippers were trying to win on the road for the first time this season. The result was a fantastic wrestling match with some pretty good basketball mixed in for good measure.

Seriously, though, both of these teams will continue to fight to save their seasons. They have to, with so much drama swirling around their respective camps.

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