|Brandon Roy might be the only one left with hope. (Getty Images)|
Minnesota Timberwolves shooting guard Brandon Roy has been attempting a "heroic" comeback this season. After being forced to retire because of chronic knee injuries in 2011, the former Portland Trail Blazers star got himself in good enough shape to take one more chance at extending his NBA career this season.
After playing just five games in the first year of a two-year, $10 million contract with the Wolves, Roy hasn't really come close to returning to the court. He had surgery to clean out his right knee in November and has practiced occasionally the last couple months. But he's never really been that close to putting on a uniform again.
He's been trying to work his way but has felf pain in the knee -- another setback in his seemingly futile attempt to play again. And it's caused him to seriously come to terms with the idea of finally retiring. From CSNNW.com:
“As soon as it happened, in my head, I said 'I quit. I just quit,” an emotional Roy told CSNNW.com. “That was my first thought, that I couldn't do this anymore.
“I'm at a crossroad in my career.”
He's certain that if he can't get right this season, it will be the end of his career. And he's fine with that.
“I look at it like this has got to be the last season,” he said. “I don't have any regrets because I know I tried to give it another season. So me saying this has to be the last season, it's not as difficult as it was last year. I tried. I gave it that last effort and it's time to move on. I'm at that range to where I'm at peace with things.”
If this were a movie, Roy would be able to suck it up, slap on a knee brace, and will his young team to victory after a montage of stretching, painful weightlifting, labored running, and him looking at himself in the mirror while wondering if this is it. He'd find a special, extra gear and find a way to make things happen on the court as the Wolves battle injuries.
Unfortunately, this is real life and it just doesn't work that way. His movie moment was in the playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks two years ago when he had that one last hurrah. Now, he's unable to practice enough to get himself into shape. He takes a wrong step in practice and he feels it for the next couple of weeks. There is no magic cure. There is no way of getting around it.
When the Wolves signed him, they had no idea what he could offer. They knew at the time he was healthy enough to play but they didn't know for how long. And unfortunately, it didn't last very long. There are two goals left on Roy's to-do list the rest of the season:
1) Try to play in the game at Portland on March 2.
“I'll say it's a 50-50 chance I'll play that game,” he said with a smile. “If I'm in decent physical condition, then I think I'll play that game. Right now I'm not close enough to getting back on the floor to say that's a possibility. As much as I want to play that game in the Rose Garden, really I just want to play on that floor again. I can't do it as a Blazer, but I feel like if I am able to get on that court again and play in front of those fans, that would be pretty special for me.”
2) Play in the last 15 games of the season. Being able to play in the last 15 games of the season would give him a target return to full strength of March 24 when the Wolves are in Chicago to face the Bulls. That's less than two months to find a way to get into acceptable shape with minimal pain and no setbacks.
It's unlikely this will happen, but it doesn't mean he won't keep trying. What's apparent through all of this is how at peace Roy seems with his situation. He isn't pouting and he isn't running from it. He's living through it and dealing with the situation. And that's probably the best way for him.
He doesn't get too down, but he doesn't deny the disappointment he feels with each setback. That might be what helps him get to the point in which he's able to get out on the court for at least one more moment, square up against his defender, and knock down a jumper. Nobody is expecting him to do much anymore, or really anything at all.
We just want to see him lace them up one more time and get to feel like a basketball player again. Here's hoping he at least gets that last chance.