Blazers' Festus Ezeli has no timetable for his return from knee injury

PORTLAND -- From re-signing Allen Crabbe, to offering a max-level extension to C.J. McCollum, to signing swingman Evan Turner to a long-term deal, the Portland Trail Blazers were very active this offseason. Unfortunately, one of their acquisitions, big man Festus Ezeli, is expected to miss all of training camp and most of the preseason after having his left knee injected with a bone marrow aspirate concentrate to alleviate pain in late August.

"I personally don't have a timeline," Ezeli said while visiting at a Boys and Girls Club in North Portland on Thursday. "I'm taking it day by day because when it comes to this situation, you never go with a timeline. It will frustrate me if I go by a timeline. I just try to take it by how I feel so hopefully sometime soon I can get back on the court and start playing again."

The loss of Ezeli to the start of the season wouldn't be a major hit to the Blazers. Portland has a plethora of big men with Mason Plumlee, Meyers Leonard, Ed Davis and Noah Vonleh to weather his absence. Plus Ezeli wasn't going to be the team's starting center, as that role still belongs to Plumlee. Still, missing training camp could hinder Ezeli's acclimation process with his new team and any chance he had of fighting Plumlee for a starting spot is now on the back burner.

On top of the missed time, Ezeli has also dealt with knee injuries in the past. After having right knee surgery, Ezeli missed the entire 2013-2014 season. Then in February, he had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee, forcing him to miss the majority of the second half of the season. And when he returned to action late in the season, Ezeli struggled at times.

Ezeli's original timeline to return was six weeks, which was given by the Blazers on August 23. Ezeli remains confident and said his knee is slowly on the mend.

"My knee is getting better. Wish I could be out there with my guys once training camp starts on Tuesday but it's gonna take a little bit for me to get to where I'm a 100 percent," Ezeli said. "[I'm] just going through the rehab process right now and hopefully by the end of it, I [can] come out and help my team this year.

"From what I can tell we have really good chemistry, more than I thought before coming here." Ezeli said. "I thought they had good chemistry before but it's very, very, very good to see. That's a good foundation for a great team and obviously we have talented players. We have great pieces on the basketball court so now it's all about putting it altogether. Everybody works so hard already, so I'm excited to see what we do this year."

CBS Sports Writer

Ananth Pandian has been writing about all NBA-related things including the social and lifestyle aspect of the sport for CBS Sports since 2015. His name is actually easy to pronounce, just remember it is... Full Bio

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