TUALATIN, Ore. — A smiling, upbeat Joel Przybilla had recently finished speaking with the media for the first time since undergoing season-ending knee surgery when Brandon Roy slowly walked through the trainer’s room to answer a volley of questions.
Roy has missed five of the Trail Blazers’ last six games while tending to a strained right hamstring.
Portland’s All-Star guard underwent a state-of-the-art platelet-rich plasma infusion last Friday in an attempt to help his injury heal.
Tuesday, Roy discussed for the first time the state of his rehabilitation, as well as the thought process that led to the decision for him to undergo the experimental procedure.
Roy acknowledged that PRP has primarily been used by athletes in football and track and field.
The relatively new medical procedure injects a patient’s blood directly into an injured area. The infusion is intended to serve as a catalyst for healing while shortening rehab time.
Roy said he was glad to have received the infusion, despite his hamstring still being sore and uncertainty regarding the timetable for his return.
“It feels like it’s getting better, but I can’t tell if it’s the rest or the shot more than anything,” said Roy, following a workout at the team’s practice facility. “I think rest is going to be the No. 1 key right now.”
Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard said the decision to utilize PRP is a symbol for a franchise that attempts to “push the envelope” when it comes to giving its players the best and most current medical treatment available.
Pritchard credited Blazers athletic trainer Jay Jensen with staying ahead of the field, while stating that Portland’s familial-like relationship with the Seattle Seahawks — Paul Allen owns both franchises — played a key role in utilizing PRP.
“I think it’s something that we’re going to look harder into,” Pritchard said. “We wouldn’t have done it unless we felt great about it. Obviously, he’s pretty important to the organization.”
Roy will be re-evaluated Thursday by the Blazers. A decision will then be made as to whether he will travel with the team on its upcoming two-game road trip.
While Roy said he wants to make the journey, he also stated that he could be held back as a precautionary measure.
Roy aggravated his hamstring Jan. 13 during a victory over Milwaukee. He then sat out two games before playing Jan. 20 versus Philadelphia. But Roy tweaked his hamstring against the 76ers, and he has not played since.
McMillan said before Portland’s loss to New Orleans on Monday that he believed Roy was at least a week away from being evaluated.
To Roy, McMillan is erring on the side of caution. But the former Washington standout understands that McMillan has his — and the team’s — best interest at heart.
Roy leads the Blazers in average points (23.1) and ranks second in assists (5.0). And Portland has struggled to close out games during tight fourth quarters during his absence. The Blazers are 2-3 in their last five games, and all three losses have been by five points or less.
“I haven’t spoke to coach about it,” Roy said. “I think he (is) just taking it slow. I think even he feels he doesn’t want to ask me everyday, ‘How’s it feel today? How’s it feel tomorrow?’ ”
While Roy was quiet and somewhat reserved in addressing the uncertainty about his injury, Przybilla was all smiles.
The 10-year veteran made his first public appearance since rupturing his right patella tendon Dec. 23 against Dallas.
“It’s coming slowly, but it’s definitely feeling good,” Przybilla said.
Przybilla stated that he his rehabilitation is on schedule, and he expects to make a full recovery. The Blazers estimate he should be ready for training camp next season.
“I’ve been here,” Przybilla said. “I’ve just been hiding from the media.”
Simple things such as driving a car or walking with ease present significant problems for the 7-foot-1, 245-pound Przybilla.
But the ability to watch his teammates persevere through a season filled with injuries and setbacks has carried him through the process while helping dull the pain.
“I’m just real proud of them,” Przybilla said. “I wish I was out there with them, but unfortunately I can’t. I’ll be back — not as soon as I wish, but I’ll definitely be out there and I’ll be better than ever.”
Blazers coach Nate McMillan said Juwan Howard and Jerryd Bayless will return to the starting lineup tonight against Utah at the Rose Garden. Howard will play center, while Bayless will be slotted at the shooting guard position. … Portland forward Nicolas Batum said his shoulder felt fine following Tuesday’s practice. Batum played for the first time this season during Monday’s defeat to New Orleans. He hopes to reach the 15-minute mark tonight, after scoring six points in 10 minutes against the Hornets. … McMillan said he believed late-game execution and slippage were the main two issues affecting the Blazers during their last-second defeat to New Orleans. Portland was outscored 10-1 during the game’s final three minutes, while shooting 0 of 6 from the field.
Interview: Check the Blazer Banter blog at columbian.com/blazerbanter for a full transcript of an interview with Roy.
Jazz vs. Blazers, 7 p.m. at Rose Garden
TV: Comcast SportsNet Northwest (37)
Radio: 95.5 FM
Position/player Ht. Pts.
G Andre Miller 6-2 13.0
G Jerryd Bayless 6-3 9.0
F Martell Webster 6-7 11.1
F LaMarcus Aldridge 6-11 16.3
C Juwan Howard 6-9 5.8
Coach: Nate McMillan (5th season, 175-199)
G Deron Williams 6-3 18.9
G Ronnie Brewer 6-7 10.0
F Andre Kirilenko 6-9 11.7
F Carlos Boozer 6-9 19.4
C Mehmet Okur 6-11 12.6
Coach: Jerry Sloan (22nd season, 1067-648)