Familiar Feeling in the Air
Just because we've felt this before, doesn't make it any more comfortable now. And, it's clear, sitting around and feeling like your team deserves a break is a waste of time. How you deal with individual situations, and how you play the hand that you're dealt, is truly what defines you. Does that make difficult times easier? It should, shouldn't it?
Every team faces, at worst, difficult times, and at best, uncertainty. We're only 11 games into this long NBA season and we've already dealt with a good amount of both.
Last season, I got so tired of saying "gosh, it wasn't supposed to happen this way..." No one feels sorry for you in this business, so it's a waste of time to feel sorry for yourself. You deal, you adjust, and you move on. That's it. It certainly helps if you have the ability to use perspective during this process.
I can't help but think how differently we'd all be feeling right now if Rudy's wide-open three would have gone down on Friday night in Oklahoma City, or even if the Blazers would have been able hang on to the lead at home against the Thunder. Everything comes down to inches in this game, and our present feelings are so determined by those moments.
The positive side is, all things considered, the Trail Blazers have fought through probably their toughest stretch of the schedule, have dealt with more adversity than many teams will face the entire season, and are above .500. Am I guilty of lowering standards to fit a situation? Probably. But, reality is reality. I don't need to sit here and go through the list of hurdles this team has faced already, from Pendergraph, to Oberto, to Oden, to Elliot Williams, to Brandon, to the emotional blow of losing a beloved friend and mentor to cancer.
Wow, we're only 11 games in?
So, the familiar feeling that's in the air is simply uncertainty. I find myself asking the question, at weaker moments, "what in the heck is next?" But, the question should probably be, "what now?" As it relates to Brandon Roy, we simply don't know.
Bradon hasn't gone home, he is with us here in Memphis, and has been listed as "questionable" for Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. After watching him leave the game in pain on Saturday in New Orleans, I'm a little surprised there's still a chance he plays in Memphis. I talked to Brandon back at the hotel in New Orleans after the game, and he was walking fine, and was heading out to find some dinner. He wasn't favoring the knee at all. He just shrugged, rolled his eyes, and that said enough. We're not the only ones feeling uncertain.
Brandon has dealt with this stuff before, and no one knows his knees better than he does. I get the feeling this is going to be a hit-and-miss situation for a while. In the short term at least, he'll probably feel fine at times, and in pain at others. He has said he feels like once the schedule loosens up a bit, the knee will calm down and he'll be fine. That's what has happened in the past.
We're also uncertain about Joel Przybilla's status for Tuesday. He's ready, and wants to return. Whether or not it happens in Memphis has yet to be decided. If he does, it'll likely be for a few short stretches in the game. You can practice all you want, and think you're putting your body to the test, but game shape and game speed is entirely different. He knows that, and I think he's curious and anxious to test himself. Even if it's just a brief return to the floor, it'll be a huge lift to this team just having him on the court in uniform.
We haven't seen Joel in a game since December 22nd in Dallas. That was a game Portland won- despite having lost Oden just a couple of weeks before, and then watched Przybilla crumple to the floor in the first half. After that, they put aside the disappointment, didn't fret about the unknown, and fought through a difficult time.
Like I said, we're used to this.