Brandon Roy's knee injury hardly seems macabre compared to some of the gruesome athletic stuff we've seen on television this year, but Roy's knees are a ghastly reminder of how often sports—like the rest of life—go painfully off script.
The news that a new injury to his cartilage-deficient knees may have brought Roy's most recent comeback to the NBA (this time with the Minnesota Timberwolves) to a sneaker-squeaking (indeterminate) halt doesn't fit the mythic mold of the hard-working, high-character athlete.
Unlike the dubious recovery efforts of less-focused athletes, there have never been any doubts surrounding Roy's rehabilitative commitments; Roy is wholehearted.
In fact, his dogged willingness to endure short-term pain has likely not helped preserve his degenerative knees for the long run. But it's his determination to make the most of the present that has also made for the most dramatic Roy moments.
Roy had undergone arthroscopic surgery during the 2010-2011 regular season and was a non-factor off the bench in the first two playoff games against the Dallas Mavericks, but he morphed into the X-factor.
In the fourth game, with the Blazers trailing by 21 points in the last minute of the third quarter, Roy pulled up for a three pointer that went in and out and in again; the rim went magnetic and so did Roy.
He began to score in droves, lifting his team's resiliency with every jumper on those precociously-frail knees.
When Jason Terry's last-second three-pointer careened off the rim, Roy was engulfed in a sea of ecstatic teammates. He leaned on shoulders and wept in the midst of that mobile huddle.
That victorious tribute is how it is supposed to be. That is a fitting script for a player and person like Roy.
So when Roy defied the odds again and came out of a year-long hiatus to give the NBA another improbable shot, it wasn't supposed to end so abruptly. His comeback run was certainly not supposed to come to a stand-still before he made a much-anticipated return to the Rose Garden in Portland (for what would have been his first game there since his fourth-quarter heroics in Game 4 against the Mavs).
Roy's will is adamantine. His knees are not.
Eventually, like all of us, his body will win. That is a scary thought, and it may be part of the reason we pull so hard for a class act like Brandon Roy to rise up for at least one last body-defying victory against the odds.
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