Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune has this regarding Brandon Roy’s knee:
Within the next two weeks, Blazer management will fly Brandon Roy to meet with one of the world’s most renowned orthopedic surgeons to discuss the possibility of surgery and/or other treatment on Roy’s troubled left knee.
The orthopedic expert is the team doctor for one of the NBA’s other 29 teams. I’m not at liberty to report his name, but he has experience in meniscus transplantation.
The procedure has been performed on some professional athletes who have retired, such as football player Marshall Faulk. It has never been done on an active pro player, however.
It’s hard to know what to make of this. Given that this procedure has never been done on an active athlete, it could be insanely risky on the part of Roy and the Trail Blazers’ medical staff and front office to try it. On the other hand, if they were to opt for this surgery and it were to go as planned, it completely changes the outlook of the Blazers’ future.
By all indications, Roy’s condition can’t be helped anymore by any conventional surgery, because he has almost no meniscus remaining in his left knee following the operation he underwent last April. In the games he has played this season, he has often looked unsure of himself and his own body, and has clearly not been physically up to the level of play that made him an All-Star the previous three seasons. And by all accounts, simply resting the knee the last couple of weeks hasn’t helped matters any. Rich Cho announced last week that the team will hold Roy out indefinitely while they explore all options for treatment.
The Blazers are on the hook for Roy’s $80 million contract no matter what, so of course the team wants to make every effort to salvage its investment, even if it means taking unprecedented measures like this one. I don’t pretend to know about the medical side of this stuff, but all it takes is a little common sense to know that this is the most high-risk, high-reward option Roy and the team could take. If he has this procedure, and it is successful, there’s a chance he could eventually return to playing at a high level–if not quite the superstar track he was on, at least something more than what he’s been this season. I’ve heard a few people say that Roy’s potentially career-threatening injury is the most overlooked story of the 2010-11 season so far, but you can rest assured that it won’t go under the radar if he does elect to have this surgery. We could have one of the biggest stories in all of sports on our hands, given the possibilities it would open up for other athletes with this problem.
All of this, of course, is assuming Roy does decide to do this, which isn’t a decision one makes lightly. I’d like to think we can trust Roy and the Blazers’ medical staff to explore every option to the fullest extent before deciding on a course of action. But from the looks of it, this might be the best option for Roy. Even if it affects his basketball career, the idea of having meniscus added where there was none before can only make the prospect of walking around on that knee for the rest of his life a little brighter. The most important thing here is Brandon’s long-term health–and by long-term, I mean with or without basketball in the picture. These guys don’t hang up their knees when they hang up their sneakers. This is the set of knees he will have for as long as he lives. If he has this procedure and can get back to at least close to where he was as a basketball player, that’s gravy.