MINNEAPOLIS — Brandon Roy has returned to practice on a limited, no-contact basis with the Minnesota Timberwolves a month after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee — an accomplishment by itself given the chronic problems he’s had.
The former NBA Rookie of the Year and All-Star decided to revive his career in Minnesota this season. Roy said the latest knee trouble didn’t prompt him to consider retirement, like he did a year ago when he was with Portland.
“I never thought about walking away. It was just, for me, do I want to go through another procedure? Or do I want to play through it?” Roy said Thursday.
Roy, a former University of Washington standout, said he felt fine in training camp, but he banged knees with another player in an exhibition game against Milwaukee on Oct. 26, and the discomfort worsened after another collision in a game against Indiana on Nov. 9. He underwent the operation Nov. 19.
Roy has been doing light drills with the team but said there’s no timetable for his return to the lineup. The Wolves have four games in the next five days, so he won’t be back for that. He said he’ll start to practice at full speed next week.
“The goal was to try to come in and help this team out, so I still have a lot of time left to try to do that. You can’t prepare for something like that, but now I’ve gone through it. About a month later, I’m happy we got it done, and I feel better,” said Roy, who played in five games before the surgery.
Roy acknowledged “that small concern” in the back of his mind that he’ll never reach 100 percent strength in his knees again but said several times in a post-practice interview with reporters that he feels good and the pain is gone.
Whenever Roy retakes the court, he’ll be overshadowed by certain other backcourt player coming off a knee injury. The Wolves host Dallas on Saturday, when point guard Ricky Rubio could make his season debut. The standout from Spain has been practicing at full speed and is simply waiting for clearance from the team. Coach Rick Adelman said Rubio hasn’t had any setbacks.
“I really have no idea. Every day they’re testing. They’re doing work on him, to see where he’s at. I’m sure we’ll make that decision come Saturday,” Adelman said.
Backup point guard J.J. Barea spoke eagerly of Rubio’s return, echoing the sentiment of everyone on the team and around it.
“He wants to be out there with us and help us win, so I think for the whole city and for us it’s good to have him back,” Barea said.
Malcolm Lee, who has been starting at shooting guard lately with Roy out, left Wednesday’s game with a hyperextended right knee. He didn’t take part in Thursday’s light workout, and the team said he wouldn’t travel to New Orleans for Friday’s game.