Brandon Roy's body shows 'all the signs' he'll be old self with Wolves
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MINNEAPOLIS -- New Minnesota Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy has high expectations for himself and his bum knees as he begins his return to the NBA.
"I want to play at a high level," Roy said at his introductory media conference on Tuesday at Target Center. "And, right now, my body is giving me all the signs that I can do that."
Roy, 28, agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract with the Wolves in early July, but the team didn't announce the deal until Tuesday.
He hopes to return to playing 35 minutes a game as he did before he was forced to retire in December, when the Portland Trailblazers decided to use their amnesty clause on the three-time All-Star because he no longer had any cartilage left in either knee.
"I'm anticipating just playing, no restrictions," Roy said. "Once I start playing, I don't think it'll be a question anymore."
Roy made it a point to say it was the Trailblazers who pulled the plug and it was never his own decision to hang up the high tops.
"It was never really officially my decision to retire," he said. "It was never a situation where I said, 'I'm done forever.' It's just more of a pause."
Roy underwent a procedure called Regenokine in which the patient has his own blood injected into their knees to reduce pain. Roy said the process is all natural and he got the idea after seeing Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers had it done before last season.
"My body felt really good (after the procedure)," Roy said, "and I've been working out every since, and there hasn't been any swelling. I'm excited I got it done.
"I knew if I wanted to play, and play at the high level I expect for myself, that I felt it would be necessary to do."
The biggest difference Roy said he feels now as opposed to a year ago is that his recovery time is much faster. The day after going through a workout, he would be in a great deal of pain and had swelling in his knees, forcing him to take days off to rest and recover.
That isn't the case now for Roy, who says he doesn't expect to have any playing restrictions, even on days where the team plays back-to-back nights.
"My goal is to still be around that 35-minute mark. Just really whatever the team needs," he said. "So, physically, I feel good. I want to play as much as possible, but at the same time I want to be smart. It's a long season, and want to be at our best down the stretch."
Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said the team had multiple people watching Roy "near daily" after he decided he was serious about pursuing a comeback.
While Roy may have high hopes of returning to the caliber of player he was before he retired, Kahn pumped the brakes on any talk of expectations and minute counts.
"I was very clear with (Roy) on that, as opposed to some other teams, the last thing we would do is put some artificial constraints on him before he even showed up," Kahn said. "Like minutes, what he can and can't do.
"I told Brandon, 'If you are capable of starting, you'll start. If you are not capable of starting, you'll come off the bench.'"
Roy said he had upwards of five teams interested in signing him, but the Wolves were a good fit both in terms of personnel and coaching.
He has an existing relationship with Wolves assistant Bill Bayno dating back to their days in Portland together and the opportunity to play for coach Rick Adelman came highly recommended from his peers around the league.
"Just talking to people around the NBA," Roy said, "the first thing they said, 'If you have a chance to play with Coach Adelman, then you should do it.'"
Roy's friend Will Conroy, who had a tryout with the Wolves last season before ultimately playing in Turkey, was the first to point out that the Wolves might be a good match for Roy and began needling his buddy about setting the comeback wheels in motion.
"I was thinking I can be good," Roy said, "but I'm going to be as good as the pieces around me, and we have a lot of good pieces here that can help me look a lot better than maybe I am."
Roy wouldn't come out and directly say that the Wolves will end their NBA-long eight-year playoff drought. But it was clear he thinks highly of the team assembled by Kahn -- calling the acquisition of Andrei Kirilenko "huge" -- and believes they are ready for the next step.
"Because I feel like with the pieces we have, we can definitely take that next step with getting to the playoffs," Roy said. "We want to work toward that. We don't want to talk it up. Guys have to come up here and work and prove it on the floor."