I haven't been able to make it out to Tualatin for practice as much as I used what, what with hosting Just Casey
or Chalk Talks
every day at noon, but on Wednesday I finally had an opportunity to take the short trip down south to take on the Trail Blazers' practice. Here are some of the highlights.
• Practice started out with the team reviewing tape and discussion of the upcoming game against the Celtics. I won't get into specifics considering practice was closed at the time, but the gist was that any team can be beaten.
• What I found most interesting about the film session was that both Brandon Roy and Marcus Camby, both relatively fresh off of arthroscopic knee surgeries, reviewed tape with the team despite both being out for the foreseeable future. This was the first time I had seen Camby since the surgery. He walked with a slight limp and had two band-aids over what I assume were the incisions made for this arthroscopic procedure, but other than that, he looked no worse for wear.
• Speaking of Marcus, he talked about the procedure today, along with the three week timetable the team tentatively has for his return.
"I just want to get back out there on the court," said Camby, who seemed to bristle slightly when asked about the three week estimate. "I don't know what timetable they put on me. I'm just rehabbing twice a day and trying to get back on the court as quickly as possible.
"I mean, the day of the surgery I came to the game, walking without crutches. Tomorrow I get my stitches out, hopefully, so once I get my stitches out I think I'm able to do a lot more."
Camby said he knew something was wrong with his knee, even after the original diagnosis said he did not have a tear in his meniscus.
"I came in the next day and they said the MRI was fine," said Camby. "I was like, I wasn't walking around like I was fine. I knew something wasn't right. Once our guys looked at the MRI and gave it a through look they knew that I tore my meniscus.
"I knew something was wrong. I know my body better than anybody else. I don't care what a X-ray or MRI says. Luckily we were able to correct it and right now I'm on the path healing."
• One more note on Camby, who was asked about the possibility of being traded prior to the NBA trade deadline.
"Like I always say, it always feels good to be wanted and if I'm dealt, I'm dealt, but that's definitely not my preference," said Camby. "I'd like to stay here and that's why I signed my extension last year. They said they wanted me to be here to finish my career, so we'll see how that remains."
Camby noted that, despite a rash of injuries, that he still feels there Trail Blazers are a contender in the Western Conference, assuming they can get at least a few key pieces back on the court.
"Myself and Brandon just been on the basketball court," said Camby. "It's not like we're not going to come back and get better. Hopefully we can come back and make a strong push for the second half of the season. That hasn't changed. I think think we have the components, but ... the health issue has always been a big issue around this organization, especially of late."
• Speaking of getting healthy, Brandon Roy lifted weights and did some running on a treadmill today while the rest of the team practiced. After watching film, Roy talked for some time with Head Coach Nate McMillan while the team warmed up. Roy also helped out with shooting drills, serving as the entry passer for Nicolas Batum, Rudy Fernandez and Luke Babbitt.
• Andre Miller was wearing a pair of black Adidas that I had never seen before. There's nothing more on that front to report.
• In other fashion news, Nicolas Batum has completely cut off his beard, despite saying that he wouldn't.
"Yesterday I woke up, I said 'I can't keep this beard,' so I shave," said Batum
This saddens me on numerous levels. First, I think beards are rad, so in general, I don't like it when anyone nixes all of their facial hair. And secondly, I had already started writing a story about all of the international players on the team sporting beards, which Nicolas recently said was an act of solidarity. Nic backtracked on that today, saying "I'm French. I have solidarity with the French people."
Turns out, neither my opinion on beards or international kinship was enough to keep Nic from returning to his baby-faced look. Nicolas also tried to defend his moving by saying Rudy Fernandez was going to completely shave his beard, but that has yet to be seen.
• Even more style news! Wesley Matthews gave the media horde a nice little off day story by wearing shaded glasses that force a player to improve his focus, or something. I took a picture
. I'd do some research to find out just how these things work, but Mike Tokito and Sean Meagher of the Oregonian and OregonLive.com, respectively, seem to have it covered
• I let one of the players, who for one reason or another has recently taken interest in my work, look through my notes today after practice. He noticed the note that said "Sean Marks - worst in the NBA?" which was a reference to a piece written on the soon-to-be defunct AOL Fanhouse blog
which stated Sean was the worst player in the league.
The player, who asked not to be named (though I will tell you that it wasn't Sean), said Marks, in his 11th NBA season, is no where near the worst player in the NBA. Said player also had some choice words to add about the claims of Marks' horribleness, few of which are printable in this blog. He also had some things to say about people who write such things, but again, not printable. Think Bart Scott, but with the aggression dialed down considerably.