A Rhino in captiviity

Since March 22, Trail Blazers forward Craig Smith has appeared in just one game — a five-minute stint against the Timberwolves on April 1.

The Rhino used to be a regular member of the second unit who was becoming a fan favorite due to his physical style and amusing moniker.

But the addition of J.J. Hickson has relegated Smith to the sideline. Here’s a quick Q & A pertaining to Craig’s new-found role of bench warmer.

How tough has this been for you?

I always want to play, you know what I’m saying, but it’s whatever helps the team. It’s always tough, but at the same time, you gotta stay ready, be positive and stay ready.

I’m guessing you came here because you expected to get decent playing time.

I thought I was it a good opportunity. The organization took a chance on me. I wanted to come out and do the best I can do, and hopefully have the opportunity to play behind LA (LaMarcus Aldridge). But sometimes things change, situations change. Some things are beyond your control and you gotta keep doing what you need to do. Basically just be a pro.

Have you approached (Blazers interim coach) Kaleb (Canales) about your minutes?

Man, I came to him maybe once just to let him know that I want to be on the same page with him and stuff like that. You know, he just told me that they we were trying to go in a different direction with a quick conversation. Wasn’t nothing too serious. They just let me know that it was nothing that I did to where they didn’t want to play me, but that they just wanted to check out new guys and stuff like that.

Seems like J.J. is the guy who is keeping you benched.

I mean, yeah, it’s tough because you have a good spurt and then you stop playing, and keep stop playing, and it’s like ‘it can’t be nothing that I did, because every time I play I’m effective.'”

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