Portland welcomes Roy with a standing-O

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: March 2, 2013 - 10:44 PM

The Timberwolf sat on the bench in his old arena, which contained a few fans wearing his No. 7.

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Minnesota Timberwolves' Brandon Roy holds up a jersey after a news conference Tuesday, July 31, 2012, in Minneapolis.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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PORTLAND - Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy's return to Portland officially went unannounced Saturday night at the Rose Garden.

It didn't, however, go unnoticed.

A few wore their old No. 7 jerseys with his surname stitched on the back.

Another carried a sign that simply read, "Thanks, Brandon. #7"

Almost all stood and applauded when an image of him on the Wolves' bench appeared without any other comment on the big overhead score during a timeout midway through the first quarter.

Roy stayed Friday night in the Portland home he still owns and said simply flying back into the city with his new team Friday afternoon and out to his house at night reminded him of the five NBA seasons he starred there.

"Just going back home brings back memories of some really special nights here in the Rose Garden," he said before the game. "I have so many memories, from the very first seasons right up until my [last] year, that I forget things until people remind me about them. That's what you want coming into league, to create memories. I have a lot of special ones here, especially in this building."

He slipped into his seat quietly at the end of the Wolves' bench 77 seconds into Saturday's game, wearing a suit and tie befitting a guy who's played just four games this season because of his problematic knees.

Roy said he intends to resume practicing sometime soon after the team returns Sunday from a three-game Western trip that ended in Portland and is hopeful he can play right along with returning injured players Kevin Love and Chase Budinger for the season's final weeks.

"I feel once they're healthy, I'll be that much closer, and we'll give ourselves a look at what this team could have been with all our guys healthy," he said.

Meanwhile, the Wolves played Saturday without Love, without Budinger, without Roy and without yet two more starters when both small forward Andrei Kirilenko (strained calf) and center Nikola Pekovic (abdominal strain) didn't play.

Mickael Gelabale replaced Kirilenko, and Greg Stiemsma replaced Pekovic in the starting lineup.

Wolves coach Rick Adelman said he'd certainly welcome Roy's return, but he isn't counting on it by any means.

"It's the same thing -- wait and see," Adelman said. "When he gets on the court, you can make a judgment. Until then, we've got so many players and problems right now. If he can do it, great. We started the season thinking he'd be our starting shooting guard and Andrei would be our starting small forward and Kevin our starting power forward and it goes right down the line.

"It'd certainly help us if he can play, but I just have to wait and see."

Roy hasn't played a game since Nov. 9 because of the same degenerative knee issues that caused him to retire from the Trail Blazers in December 2011.

He met with a small army of Portland media members before Saturday's game and was asked why he keeps on keeping on, why he hasn't yet decided to finally call it quits on an All-Star career.

"Really, I'm still young," said Roy, 28. "If I was just to stop playing basketball, I don't know exactly what I'd go into right away. So I just say, 'Why not?' I still love to show up and practice and work out. And when the time comes to stop, I'll know when that time comes."

He is being paid $5 million this season and said he committed to giving himself a full season when he signed last summer a two-year, $10 million contract with the Wolves that now is not guaranteed next season.

"At the end of the year, I'll reflect on things and see if I still want to continue to go forward," Roy said.

"I won't make that decision now. I know people want to me to, but I'll wait. I made a commitment, and I'm going to stick it out."

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