By Joe Tischler
Special to The Free Press
In 2006, Minnesota selected Brandon Roy with the sixth overall selection. This year, he will finally be making his Timberwolves’ debut.
Roy was traded on draft night to Portland for Randy Foye (7th overall pick) and cash. While Foye was satisfactory in three years in Minnesota, Roy was busy becoming a superstar in the Pacific Northwest.
In five years in Portland, he was named Rookie of the Year in 2007 and was a three-time All-Star (2008-2010), averaging 19 points per game over his career.
He was forced to retire before last season due to chronic knee issues. In June he underwent a procedure known as “Regenecon.” Both of Roy’s knees have a lack of cartilage between the bones and it involves a process of injecting his knees with an anti-inflammatory to help take away pain. This is the same procedure that stars like Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez have also taken.
He worked out for the Timberwolves shortly after the procedure and was signed by the team on July 31.
On Tuesday, Roy returned to the NBA and took part in his first day of training camp in over a year at Bresnan Arena. He was so excited to return that he could barely sleep the night before.
“I’m happy to be back at training camp instead of at home and watching and hearing about all of it,” said Roy. “That was hard for me last year. I just had a smile on my face. We were here for a long time today, and I was still smiling and joking around with the guys.”
Risks are involved when signing a player who has had multiple surgeries on his knees. Roy knows that, but he loves the game of basketball and he feels like he has a message to send.
“When I decided to come back, a lot of people were saying “are you sure?” It was something that I felt like I wanted to prove to myself; it was never about anybody else,” said Roy. “I’m just going to go out there and give it what I have. I don’t want to prove anybody wrong; I just want to prove myself right.”
Roy’s new teammates are thrilled to have his all-star experience to an up-and-coming club.
“I’m excited to have him,” said Luke Ridnour, who is beginning his third season with the Timberwolves. “I’ve know Brandon for a long time. Watching him get back out here and get to the level he was at before is going to be fun to see.”
“He’s very important (to the team),” said Kevin Love, Minnesota’s two-time all-star. “We have a lot of veteran guys on this team and new guys that are all going to add to this team quite a bit.”
Another veteran addition is Andrei Kirilenko, who along with Roy, brings the odd similarity of being a former all-star who wasn't in the NBA last season. Roy feels that may be an advantage.
“It may be kind of sneaky,” he said. “We have two pretty good players that didn’t play last year; maybe we’re a little bit slept on. AK has won in Utah, I won in Portland and I know this team wants to take that next step.”