MINNEAPOLIS – Brandon Roy has suffered yet another setback in his protracted attempt to return from the knee injuries that forced his retirement in 2010 and cut his comeback short after just five games this season.
The shooting guard, who signed with the Timberwolves in the offseason, hasn’t played since Nov. 9, when the lingering effects of a preseason collision refused to abate. He had an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee at the end of November and has allegedly been inching toward a comeback ever since, though markedly out of the public eye.
Roy spoke with reporters Thursday and explained that after experiencing positive results in his rehab last week, he ramped up his activity and then tweaked his bad right knee Saturday, thus slowing the comeback attempt yet again. He’s been wearing a new brace, too, he said, which he’s been attempting to get used to, but it’s been causing him hamstring soreness as he breaks it in.
It’s hard to say how many such setbacks Roy has had since his November surgery – he’ll cop to this one and another right after the arthroscopy – and even the information about his rehab has been murky, at best. Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said in December that Roy was beginning some sort of treatment regimen that would last three weeks, but he refused to give details, and Roy offered none on Thursday, only that he’s not undergoing anything currently and is proceeding with his rehab.
“I am able to work out,” Roy said. “But we’re trying to get a new schedule where we don’t pound day to day. Maybe I’ll work hard on Monday, then go lighter on Tuesday, to see if that will get me closer to being able to play games and get into shape to where I can’t practice as much, but I can play some games.”
The shooting guard spends time with the team when it’s in town, and he’s often spotted leaving practices and shootarounds as soon as the media are let in. He hasn’t been participating, though, according to coach Rick Adelman, and any idea of a setting a timetable for his comeback would be foolish at this point.
The further the season progresses, the less and less likely it seems that Roy will be seen in a Timberwolves jersey again. Roy doesn’t think that far into the future, he says, and that kind of live-in-the-now attitude has been his hallmark since joining the team. Adelman, too, is proceeding as if Roy won’t be an option, and how could he not when there’s little conclusive evidence about the viability of a comeback?
“There are moments when I don’t know if it will happen again,” Roy said of returning to the court. “And then I’ll start working out, building, and I get to a place where I have a great workout.”
The Timberwolves’ motives with Roy at this point are unclear. His salary is guaranteed only for this season, and they could very well be keeping him around to dump his expiring salary in a trade. Or they could really be waiting and hoping; it’ll likely not be until the Feb. 21 trade deadline that we find out which is the case.
And as for Roy, he’ll keep trying because he’s not ready to give up. Not yet. It’s as admirable as it is incomprehensible, what he’s doing, and when he says things like “I know what my knees are,” as he did Thursday, it’s hard not to wonder, really?
So far, the Brandon Roy experiment in Minneapolis has been an injury-induced failure, and as the weeks pass, it’s looking more like the only way it’ll be redeemed is through some beneficial packaging of his contract in a trade rather than the miracle comeback the team has been hoping for since November.