Column: Roy should be kept safe until after All-Star break

Lock him up. Sit him down. Hire a Jack Bauer-like personal security guard, keep him under 24-hour video surveillance, disguise him as Blaze the Trail Cat and slip him some catnip.

Do absolutely whatever it takes.

But whatever it comes down to, Trail Blazers, make sure of one thing: Do not let all-everything guard Brandon Roy back on the court until after the NBA All-Star break.

Should Roy play tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers? Should he strap on the black and red next Tuesday against an Oklahoma City team otherwise known as Kevin “The No. 2 overall pick of the 2007 Draft” Durant?
How about next Wednesday versus Phoenix? Or next Sunday in the nationally televised, incredibly overblown, and insanely-boring-after-the-pregame-introductions All-Star game?

Two letters, one answer: No.

No, no, no, no, no.

Do the right thing, Trail Blazers. Keep Roy safe.

When it comes to Roy, his rather annoying strained right hamstring, and all things relating to the NBA during the days before that magically ridiculous Feb. 14 night beneath a Dallas Cowboys’ star-lit sky, Portland should heed the righteous words of former First Lady Nancy Reagan: just say no.

And, of course, there’s absolutely no way in heck Roy should come anywhere within a Texas mile of Jerry Jones’ jumbotron while wearing court-ready Nikes.

Everything in this world comes down risk versus reward. And right now, the risk in playing Roy is much too high.

Yes, it would be nice to see the best the Blazers have to offer return to the court tonight at the Rose Garden and drop 32 on the Lakers (again).

And, yes, it would be great to know that all is right, good and normal when it comes to the shaky state of Roy’s poor, strained hammy.

But here’s the thing: it’s not. And it was all so clear as soon as the Blazers wrapped up practice Friday in Tualatin, Ore.

While the rest of his teammates alternated post-workout free throws with laughter and jokes, a less-than-jovial Roy was lost in another world.

Back facing the media, mostly listening instead of talking, a seated Roy nodded his head up and down and stared ahead while Portland coach Nate McMillan stood tall.

Later, Roy again sat down. This time with his back against the wall, quietly conversing with assistant coach Kaleb Canales in an ultra-secret conversation whose tone and content could only be guessed. But the enduring image was unmistakable: Things weren’t working out the way Roy wanted them to, and there was nothing he could do about it.

Roy referred to the neverending injury that has forced him to miss 11 of Portland’s last 12 games as frustrating. The Natural thought his All-Star body would have healed itself by now, and the mysterious nature of his ailment has left him wondering when everything will return to normal.

Which is exactly why the Blazers must rest Roy.

The fact that Portland’s franchise player is even questioning whether he can take the court versus the Lakers means he shouldn’t.

And all the recent back-and-forth dialogue about Roy’s health has “Jan. 20, Philadelphia” written all over it.

That’s when Roy convinced the Blazers he was good to go. That’s when he clocked just 18 minutes before grabbing his right thigh late in the first half and calling it a night.

Ever since then, Roy has been in street clothes. And the sight of Mr. Blazer watching games from a soft-cushioned chair while nervously adjusting his expensive shirtsleeves admittedly doesn’t look right.

But what will look even worse is if Roy gets the green light tonight — or at any other time before the All-Star break — and endures further pain.

Right now, the Blazers have the opportunity to give Roy 10 consecutive days off before a Feb. 16 matchup against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Ten days and three missed regular-season games is nothing in the big scheme. It’s definitely nothing in late April, when the NBA Playoffs are rolling and the best of the best are still balling.

And if Portland still holds the playoffs as its ultimate goal this season, Roy should be wrapped up tight until all is right.

Brian T. Smith covers the Trail Blazers for The Columbian. Contact him at 360-735-4528 or Read his Blazers Banter blog at Follow him on Twitter at

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