Brandon Roy opened up and was honest with the Oregonian Thursday about why he came back and where his knees are at following his latest surgery on Monday.
It’s not good.
Roy admitted that he was bothered a lot by the idea he had left basketball too soon, that he could have done more. He felt he had to try again, he had to know. He had to try again. But his body may be telling him it’s time to stop after his seventh knee surgery Monday on knees that, at age 28, are a step away from needing to be replaced.
Not just one doctor, but multiple doctors have told Roy that he should stop playing basketball. His knees are getting worse by the day. By now, at 28, he has had so many surgeries, so many treatments and seen so many doctors, he sounds like a specialist. He explains that he has degenerative arthritis, which erodes and eventually eliminates cartilage, with the same precision and ease that came to define his run of three consecutive All-Star appearances. And with the calm that made him one of the game’s best finishers, he explains that his knees have reached Level III arthritis. There are only four stages.
“Level IV,” Roy says fearlessly, “is when you get a knee replacement.”
Roy admits that this season could be it for him. And he admits that when he tried to walk away a year abo after the lockout he couldn’t. At age 27, he wasn’t ready to — this wasn’t on his terms. And really, if you saw how competitive Roy was during his All-Star seasons, you can understand why he wouldn’t want to accept this fate.
“When I was 40, would I look back and say ‘You quit because you couldn’t be the best player anymore?’ I didn’t want to get older and regret that,” Roy said. “And the biggest thing I thought about was my kids. I’m going to want to hold them accountable one day, and I don’t want them to say, ‘Well, dad, you stopped playing just because of this… ‘ I want to say, no, I gave it an honest shot. And that’s the reason I felt I had to do this.”
But now, it will be on his terms. He has accepted his fate.
“I wouldn’t be disappointed either way,” Roy said. “If it ends in three weeks, it ends. It’s over. I’m totally satisfied with what I’ve done. I know the sacrifice and the effort that I put into coming back. It took a lot of discipline to get to where I am. That’s all I care about: how hard I’ve worked. So I can’t say I’m disappointed, that would be selfish. I was just a normal player my junior year in college, and everything since has been a major blessing.
“I’ve had an unbelievable run.”