Roy out against Thunder; Fernandez will start
Portland Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy will not play tonight against Oklahoma City in a pivotal Western Conference contest at the Rose Garden, Blazers coach Nate McMillan said.
Roy, who is recovering from a right knee bone contusion, will be re-evaluated tonight for Portland’s regular-season finale, a matchup versus Golden State on Wednesday at the Rose Garden.
Roy suffered the knee bruise during a 91-88 road victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
McMillan said Roy is day-to-day. A decision as to when Roy will return to the court will be based solely off his health, not the Blazers’ playoff chances with or without him.
“When I saw it happen, I didn’t think it was major,” McMillan said. “But he had a grimace that said that we needed to get him out of the game. … After the game, there was some concern there. But now we just have to move on and try and get him ready as soon as possible. We’ve been dealing with this all year long, as far as guys being out, and our guys have responded well.”
The Blazers have missed 304 games due to injury this season.
Rudy Fernandez said he will make his first start of the season tonight in place of Roy.
“It’s not a challenge,” Fernandez said. “I want to help my teammates and help my team for (our) goals and the objective for this season.”
Heading into tonight’s contest, the Blazers (49-31) are tied with Oklahoma City and San Antonio for sixth place in the Western Conference. Portland holds a tiebreaker over the Spurs, and will hold one over the Thunder with a win this evening. The Blazers have already qualified for the playoffs, which start Saturday, but Portland’s seed is still to be determined.
Roy, a three-time All-Star, leads the Blazers in average scoring (21.5 points) and ranks second in minutes (37.2). But he has missed 15 games this season, primarily due to a hamstring injury.
Fernandez is averaging 8.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 23.0 minutes in 60 games. The electric sharpshooter has been wildly inconsistent this season, though, and is shooting just 38 percent from the floor.
Roy’s absence will likely lead to more minutes for reserve small forward Martell Webser, who scored 16 points and knocked six key free throws during Portland’s 91-88 victory over the Lakers.