Blazers' Matthews is on the mend

Guard back in town after surgery on his elbow

By Candace Buckner, Columbian staff writer

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TUALATIN, Ore. -- Possibly feeling a bit nostalgic about his own bygone days as an NBA prospect or maybe even fighting off a touch of cabin fever, Wesley Matthews appeared at the Trail Blazers' pre-draft workouts on Friday morning.

Matthews returned to the practice facility just two days removed from undergoing an arthroscopic debridement procedure on his left elbow in St. Louis. Wearing a thick protective wrap over the stitches, Matthews palmed and bounced a Spalding while chatting with the four invited players as well as team personnel.

It may be unusual for Matthews to take such a backseat role, but he will have to grow accustomed to the sideline as his recovery is expected take three to four weeks.

"I had no idea. I didn't really know what to expect," said Matthews, who recorded career-best statistics in points (14.8) and 3-pointers made (169) last season. "But I'm glad that it's over and it's done with and hopefully it's something that won't come back. I'm looking forward to getting back on this court."

Matthews described feeling "shocked" that the lingering issue with his elbow required surgery.

Although Matthews -- his fourth and most injury-riddled season now behind him -- noticed the problem during the latter part of the Blazers' six-game February road trip before the All-Star break, he continued to play through the annoyance.

In fact, when Matthews missed the final five games of the season, the culprit was his right ankle. Not his other ailments -- left hip flexor strain, left ankle and certainly not the left elbow.

After heeding advice to take a month off after the regular season, Matthews attempted to return to the court but the painful sensation remained.

"I thought it might have just been some tendinitis," Matthews said. "Something didn't feel right with my ankle, something didn't feel right with my elbow, so that's when I reached out to Geoff (Clark, head athletic trainer) and we got the ball rolling."

Matthews said his ankle feels better after he received a platelet rich plasma injection and reported that his hip is "cool."

In two weeks, Matthews will return to the surgeon, Dr. Ken Yamaguchi, and a positive report should spark a comeback.

"Hopefully get the stitches out, get back shooting," Matthews predicted. "Then another couple weeks from there, be cleared for contact."

In the meantime, Matthews can always get his basketball fix watching the competitive drills at the pre-draft workouts. When Matthews raised his draft stock in 2009, he started with a strong workout inside the very gym he now calls home.

"Portland was the first workout that I had. I remember killin' it, too," Matthews said. "They didn't notice. (But) they noticed a year later."