Blazer Banter

Practice Report: Wesley Matthews talks about irregular heartbeat experience

Wesley Matthews returned to practice on Friday after leaving practice Wednesday and missing Thursday’s game against the Warriors after experiencing an irregular heartbeat.

“I was practicing, I felt fine and then we were shooting free-throws and then my heart was racing like it was about to jump out of my chest,” he said about the moment he started to feel different.

The Trail Blazers said that Matthews underwent an electrical procedure on Wednesday, the day that he had the irregular heartbeat and that returned his heartbeat back to normal.

Matthews said that it was certainly a scary moment.

“It wasn’t very settling. I didn’t know what it was, I was confused. I was worried because we do our stress echoes and our heart stuff during our physicals and that was three weeks ago and everything was fine and everything was normal.”

He said that after having a clear bill of health regarding his heart, it was even scarier at first but it now he’s seen a specialist and feels better.

“For something to just happen out of nowhere, my mind right away went to fear. But after talking with the specialist and talking to the doctors everybody is more on line that it was just a fluke.

Matthews saw a heart specialist before Friday’s practice and they cleared him to play in practice.

When asked whether he would be available for opening night against the Suns, Matthews said he expects to play.

“I played today,” he said with a smile.

Terry Stotts, expectedly, was glad to have Matthews back.

“It was good. Beyond basketball,” Stotts said.

Stotts talks about decision to play Freeland over Leonard

Terry Stotts’ decision to play Joel Freeland over Meyers Leonard at the back-up center position certainly raised some eyebrows. While Stotts said that Freeland had earned the position by playing defense he also wanted to clarify that it isn’t the end of the world for Leonard.

“It’s a long season,” Stotts said. “82 games, opportunities happen. He’ll get an opportunity, he’ll keep working. When his opportunity comes and his name is called he has to be ready.”

Stotts reiterated that Freeland has been better on defense and that’s what he envisions getting from his back-up cetner.

“I think he’s protecting the rim. He puts his body on the line,” he said. “I think he’s been consistently doing the dirty work and he’s gained the respect of his teammates. It’s a lot of dirty work that people don’t notice but his teammates sure notice it.”

Nicolas Batum told The Oregonian that Joel Freeland was the “Training Camp MVP,” andLaMarcus Aldridge told media that he was impressed with Joel Freeland’s defense after their game in Boise.

Erik Gundersen

Erik Gundersen is the Trail Blazers beat reporter for The Columbian. He's a graduate of the Allen School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in addition earning a degree in Spanish. He started writing about NBA Basketball for SwishScout.com before being the Sports Reporter Intern for TrailBlazers.com. He also fist-bumped with Kanye West once. Follow @BlazerBanter on twitter for more Blazers and NBA news.

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