Notes: Dec. 14 Blazers practice

Notes from the Portland Trail Blazers practice on Monday at the team’s workout facility in Tualatin, Ore.

Blazers coach Nate McMillan watched Monday’s practice from the sideline. McMillan sat in a chair, and used another chair to prop up his right leg, which was in a cast following successful surgery on his right Achilles tendon. Monday’s session marked McMillan’s first with the team since Portland’s four-game road trip.

McMillan said he is considering making lineup changes for Tuesday’s home game against the Sacramento Kings. McMillan would not be specific, but said everything is being considered. McMillan was then reminded that his team only has nine healthy players, that Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge are permanent starters, and that the team lacks a back-up center. Thus, McMillan was asked if he was looking at making changes at the point guard position. He responded, “We know LaMarcus and Brandon is going to be there, and we have to look at if from there.”

Rookie forward Jeff Pendergraph practiced with the team.

Jerryd Bayless cleared things up.

On getting an opportunity:

For this team, I feel like I can really help it out. And just getting the opportunity. And if I do, I’m going to do my best to just help the team out.

On his reported comments about Andre Miller and Steve Blake:

A miscommunication between both of us. He’s not trying to start anything. It was nothing like that. It was just a miscommunication on both our parts. And I apologize. I’ll take the blame for it. That’s not what I was trying to say; maybe he took it the wrong way. Maybe I insinuated that. But that’s by far something I was not trying to say. I would never put down Steve or Andre, because both of them are great. Especially Steve and Andre — they both do different things that help this team. It’s just a miscommunication and things like that happen.

Brandon Roy said he is not concerned with trade rumors, and stated that the Blazers have to focus on the present and improve things they have control over. Roy said his body feels better than ever, and he has no problem handling more than 40 minutes per game.

Roy on lineup changes:

I don’t really care about changing the lineup. I think we’ve just got to make sure we’ve got the same nine guys that we have that are going to be here in two months, and play with those guys. Again, you can’t help injuries. But if we change the lineup, it may be something that (McMillan) had a chance to sit back and watch those games, and it may be something that we need. And, again, we can’t make any excuses.

On his expectations:

I kind of play each game. I don’t look at the big scheme until we get there.

On possibly playing more up tempo:

Yeah, but again, those last four games, here we are in a position where coach wasn’t around, so everybody’s maybe a little more tired than usual. We don’t want to shoot too fast — we don’t want to put coach Dean (Demopoulos) in a bad position. … So, a lot of things were different on that road trip. I think we did a good of playing hard. And I think our offense will hopefully be a lot better, being back at home. I just think we’ve got to play faster. That was just our first four games playing without Greg. We really tried to establish being an inside-out game, and now we’re back to being a pick-and-roll team. So, now we’ve just got to go back to that. Besides Milwaukee, I think we did a pretty good job. I think we’ve just go to take, not quicker shots, but get up the court faster, and try to take some shots — our first open look — just to speed the game up a little bit.

On whether his expectations have changed:

No, not at all. A lot of people were calling me yesterday. I was upset after the game. I felt like I had some opportunities to help win that game, and I didn’t make them. But yesterday, I was relaxed; excited to get back to basketball. People were like, ‘Keep your head up.’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s up.’ This is good for us. This gives us experience that I feel like I can get better from. And hopefully the rest of the guys feel the same way. I think it’s a good experience for us. We’ll be better for it.

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