Usually you want to team your team to stay close. Building a sense of camaraderie off the court has various benefits on the court, so if you can foster some semblance of esprit de corp
, through proximity or otherwise, you do it.
But sometimes, close isn't necessarily a good thing, as is the case right now for the Trail Blazers. Even though they're known as one of the tighter-knit locker rooms in the league, sometimes guys are instructed to stay away. It's nothing personal.
Such is the case right now with Joel Przybilla, who stayed in Portland with a stomach virus while the rest of the team traveled to New Jersey to start a four-game Eastern Conference road swing. Przybilla, who underwent a full workout prior to Friday night's game against the Hornets, is up and around and probably feeling well enough to travel. But right now, on a team that is once again being defined by who isn't playing rather than who is, the chance of Joel passing along a virus to the rest of the team on a cross country flight was a chance the Trail Blazers weren't willing to take, even with Sean Marks out with an ankle injury.
"With that virus that he has you can easily pass that on to someone," said Nate McMillan. "The doctors felt that it would be a risk for him to fly with the team and possibly passing that to the players. So we decided, until he gets better, he gets his strength back, we'll leave him at home."
There's still a good chance that Przybilla will meet up with the team before the trip is over, most likely in Philadelphia or Boston, assuming he's no longer a risk to himself or the intestinal tract of his teammates.
"We're hoping he joins the team soon, but until that passes for him, we will leave him at home," said McMillan. "He'll workout and do some things (in Portland), but until that passes, he won't be traveling."
So after wishing and hoping and praying Przybilla would be back and ready to play as soon as possible, the team in now in the position of having to keep Joel at arms length. Just the latest in a string of cruel ironies the Trail Blazers have endured over the past two season.