Blazers’ Przybilla out for the season following successful surgery
PORTLAND — Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Przybilla underwent successful surgery today to repair a ruptured right patella tendon and dislocated patella, the team announced. He is out for the season and is expected to be ready for the 2010-11 training camp.
Przybilla suffered the injuries during the first quarter of Portland’s 85-81 road victory Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Przybilla’s absence, coupled with the recent loss of center Greg Oden, leaves the Blazers without a healthy true center on the team’s 16-man roster. Forwards Juwan Howard and LaMarcus Aldridge will fill in for Przybilla, with Howard holding down the starting position.
Przybilla averaged 4.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks through 29 games (eight starts) this season. He assumed the starting role when Oden went down Dec. 5 with a season-ending left patella fracture.
The 7-foot-1, 255-pound Przybilla played in all 82 regular-season games for the Blazers last season. He averaged 5.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 23.8 minutes in 2008-09, and was a key member of a Portland team that won 54 games and made the NBA Playoffs for the first time since 2003.
Przybilla, who joined the Blazers in 2004, played in at least 76 games during three of his first five years with the franchise.
Przybilla’s injury is a severe blow to a Portland (19-12) team whose early-season battle with major injuries has prevented the Blazers from fulfilling the high expectations that initially surrounded this season.
Przybilla, Oden, Nicolas Batum, Travis Outlaw, Rudy Fernandez, Jeff Pendergraph and Patty Mills have all dealt with serious injuries this year. Oden is out for the season; Batum and Outlaw are not expected to return until after the 2010 All-Star break; and Fernandez and Mills are not due back until January. In addition, Portland coach Nate McMillan is recovering from a ruptured Achilles tendon, while owner Paul Allen and assistant coach Maurice Lucas are battling serious health issues.
Portland was recently awarded a hardship exemption by the NBA — which allowed the Blazers to temporarily add a 16th player — as a result of the team’s injury issues. The organization is expected to apply for another exemption due to the loss of Przybilla.
Notes: Blazers guard Brandon Roy (shoulder strain) is listed as questionable for Friday’s home game against the Denver Nuggets. Roy underwent a magnetic resonance imaging test today.