Plenty of notes from a busy Sunday shootaround before tonight's 7:30 PM game against the Hawks at the Rose Garden.
Gerald Wallace participated in his first practice, albeit a shootaround, as a Trail Blazer Sunday morning in preparation for tonight's game.
"It was great," said Wallace, who went through shootaround without his trademark headband. "Everybody made me feel welcome. Guys are trying to help me with the plays and get going. It's going to be a transition, it's a new system, whole new set of rules so it's going to take me a minute to adjust and get used to the plays and defensive strategies, but hopefully everything will work out good."
Wallace, who McMillan said will come off the bench against the Hawks, still has a ways to go when it comes to picking up Portland's system, which, according to Wallace, is vastly different from what he had become accustomed to during seven seasons with the Bobcats.
"It's totally different because here they start from the inside out," said Wallace. "In Charlotte, we used our wings a lot. Our wings were our main go-to. The main thing is trying to get adjusted to being in certain situations as far as they work from the post."
Getting to know the plays is just one of the challenges facing Wallace. Being the new face in the Portland locker room after being the team leader in Charlotte's will be an adjustment, one that might be more important than knowing when and where to set a pick.
"New situation, new system, not knowing what's expected of you, not knowing what to expect from the guys around you, the situation that you're put in," said Wallace. "It's nervous. It's like the first day of school for me. Coming in, these guys have been together for three, four, five months and you're the new kid in the school now. So everybody is obviously looking at you, you're trying to get adjusted to everybody, you don't want to step on any toes. It's a new setting for me."
The good news is that there's a game tonight, and Wallace thinks getting back out on the court will help calm his nerves.
"I'm just ready to play," said Wallace. "Like I told my mom, I'm still in shock. I'm still kinda shaky, kinda nervous about the whole situation and everything. So my main thing is getting back into basketball and playing the game that I love. It's always been my escape. Basketball has always been a thing that I can turn to, kinda get away from all my problems. I'm so anxious for tonight. Just ready to get out there on the court and get to running again."
Marcus Camby will make his return to the court tonight after missing the last 16 games after undergoing surgery to repair a partial medial meniscus tear in his left knee. According to Nate McMillan, Camby will start though he will be limited to 20 minutes, or as close to 20 minutes as possible.
Camby's return comes just in time for a Trail Blazers team that is trying to make a final push to stay in and improve their standing in a tight Western Conference playoff race.
"Hopefully we all seem to mesh together, hopefully quickly," said Camby. "The last 24, 25, 26 games are important. We've got to find a way to distance ourselves from the pack because you look at the playoff race, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, everything is all bunched up. Teams are separated by one, two or three losses. It's imperative that we get off to a good start."
As for Brandon Roy, who is two games into his return from knee surgery, McMillan said he will still try to restrict Roy to 15 minutes as he is acclimates into the Trail Blazers lineup.
"(Roy) was OK," said McMillan. "I need to keep him at 15 though, not much more than 15. He was OK, didn't have any setbacks or swelling or anything like that. For this game here and going into next week we need to try and keep him minutes limited."
McMillan noted that, after playing Roy 24 minutes in the Friday night's overtime victory versus the Nuggets, that he needed to do a better job of holding back the three-time all-star.
"We talked about it, but (team orthopedist Dr. Roberts) understood that was a different situation with us having nine guys (that) Brandon could possibly go over," said McMillan. "Everybody went over their minutes. LaMarcus 50, Wesley 49, so ... we got the win, so. We'll try to keep him close."
Gerald Wallace At Practice (video)
Marcus Camby at Practice vs Hawks (video)