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In last year's playoff series with the Phoenix Suns, Brandon Roy's decision to return early from a knee injury was hailed as heroic, courageous, and worthy of the superstar status he deserved. He even drew comparisons to Willis Reed, who famously returned from a knee injury of his own to finish a game.
This year, that decision has come back to bite him, and the Blazers, square in the behind.
Already averaging career lows in points (16.6), rebounds (2.9, never below four), assists (3.3, again never below four), and FG% (a shade under 40%), Roy told Nate McMillian he couldn't play up to the level that he's used to. He said that he virtually had no cartilage in his knees, and no amount of rest or therapy could help the problem.
Roy was shut down indefinitely, and has since been scheduled for surgery on both knees. He's doubtful to return this season.
All this after signing a seven-year, $82 million contract this past summer.
If Roy can't play at all, this may go down as the biggest disappointment ever for Portland. This guy was considered by many to be a top-ten talent in the league. Roy was mentioned in the same breath as Kobe Bryant and Dwayne Wade as the clear top three shooting guards in the league, and had many clutch moments in a Blazer uniform.
He was The Guy, a player you could have success with for as long as he stayed on the court. Now, it's entirely possible he may never step on a basketball court again.
I do think he'll play again, but he won't be the guy he was. Roy is intelligent and fundamentally sound, and he can make a living as a spot-up shooter if his knees can hold up.
For $82 million, however, that won't be enough.
With Oden's well-known troubles, and now Roy's situation, the Blazers will have to consider rebuilding again, which is a tragic disappointment considering how well the team has drafted and how hard the Blazers worked to get over the "Jail Blazers" era.