The Minnesota Timberwolves made some news this summer by signing guard Brandon Roy, especially since Roy did not play in the NBA last season and was thought to be retired due to knee problems that have left him without cartilage in both knees.
Roy had performed solidly to start the season, averaging 5.8 points and 4.6 assists per game over the first five games in just over 24 minutes per contest. However, he did not play in the second half of that fifth game against the Indiana Pacers on November 9 after re-injuring his right knee and has not suited up since.
Now Roy is slated to undergo arthroscopic surgery on that right knee sometime this week, with a further report suggesting he will sidelined for at least two weeks after surgery. But, since it will be his seventh knee surgery, the Timberwolves will certainly be very cautious with him and it would not be surprising to see Roy out for much longer than two weeks. Once he is out of surgery, a clearer timetable for his return to action should come out.
The Timberwolves signed Roy to a two-year deal worth over $10 million during the summer, but only this year’s $5.1 million salary is fully guaranteed. So even if the experiment of bringing Roy aboard only last five games, the team protected itself from just this type of situation for that second season of the contract.
If Roy is able to return to action this season, he can’t be considered a reliable option in any role, and Timberwolves’ coach Rick Adelman will be challenged to manage his minutes very carefully. Of course that was already the inherent challenge for Adelman in order to maximize Roy’s contribution at key points in games and preserve him for later in the season.
Given his past knee issues and his inability to make it through even five full games this season without incident, it’s fair to wonder if Roy will simply retire if his recovery from this week’s surgery does not progress well. It’s also possible he simply won’t be physically able to play post-surgery, even if his spirit is willing and he insists publicly he will return at some point this season.