Brandon Roy needs to retire, there's just no other way to put it.
When he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves over the offseason, there was a hope that he could reignite what had become a career cut short by injuries. After appearing in just five games this season, however, it's become clear such an inspirational comeback just isn't in the cards.
Roy has experienced a slew of setbacks in his latest attempt to return to the court. What was once believed to be an injury that he could perhaps overcome, has suddenly become one that will force him to retire once again—this time for good.
According to Kent Youngblood of the Star Tribune, it has gotten to the point where Roy himself is even unsure if he will be able to ever return:
His right knee still aching, Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy spent the past few days contemplating his future, and whether the NBA would be a part of it. Ultimately, Roy -- after consulting with yet another doctor -- has decided upon a new treatment on his right knee that he hopes will allow him to return to action.
Neither Roy nor the Wolves will know whether the new treatment will work for at least three or four weeks, team President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said before Saturday's game with Phoenix.
"Last week while practicing, I suffered a setback in my recovery," Roy said in a statement released by the team. "I've felt better since the recent surgery, but I am not all the way better. The past two days I have been weighing all of my options as I try to continue my basketball career. I have decided to explore additional treatment options and an extensive rehabilitation plan. My goal has been, and continues to be, to return to the basketball."
Roy's resiliency is admirable, that we cannot deny. But it's no longer enough. As painful as it is to admit, this should have been easier.
If his knees were up to the rigors that come with being an NBA player, he wouldn't be nearly two months removed from competitive action.
Personally, I still remember Brandon Roy, the three-time All-Star. I can still remember him hitting threes like shots inside the arc didn't exist. I still remember the player who averaged 21.5 points during the 2009-10 NBA season en route to posting a career-high 21.3 PER. I still remember who Roy once was.
But I also understand that who Roy was is someone he can no longer be.
His knees don't have the necessary lift under them for him to shoot lights out from deep. He cannot make the sharp lateral movement necessary to play perimeter defense at a passable level. He's not someone who can escape the reality of possessing degenerative knees.
And that's heartbreaking.
Roy was one of the most talented athletes the game had before injuries destroyed his career. He could play both the point and shooting guard positions and was a type of talent that you could build around.
Now, though? He's hoping to find some form of treatment that will allow him to return to the court as a seldom used role player.
Is that how we want to remember Roy?
Better yet, let's assume he is able to make an appearance on the hardwood before season's end. What then?
Roy signed on for two years with Minnesota, the second of which isn't guaranteed. Are the Timberwolves likely to put themselves on the hook for another $5 million worth of disappointment?
I doubt it. By that point, Roy would be left essentially begging for a job, which is below him.
Retiring now allows Roy to leave on his own terms, or as close to his own terms as possible. Sure, it will be the knees that kept him off the court, but it will have been him that decided this was too much, that he was prepared to do what's best for his team and his health.
I could respect that; we could all respect that.
What's happening now is a different story. Far be it from me to chastise one of the best scorers of the last decade, but the time to call it quits—once and for all—is now.
Like I said, we still remember who Brandon Roy was; we can still recall what he was capable of. We can still remember him as he deserves to be remembered.
And him admitting that he has reached the point of no return (literally), it ensures we will never forget.
"I can tell he's an optimistic person," Minnesota's President of Basketball Operations David Kahn said.
Well, now it's time for Roy to be a realistic person as well.
One who walks away from the game now, before its demanding discourse tarnishes what is left of his reputation.
*All stats in this article are accurate as of December 30, 2012.