Storyline: Festus Ezeli Injury

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Ezeli never played in his first season with the Blazers. He had cadaver ligament replacement surgery on his left knee on March 7. The 6-foot-11, 265-pounder has not been told who the donor was, but through his doctor he can give a letter to the family, who can then decide whether they want to meet him. Ezeli is hopeful they will want to after he gives the letter to his doctor during a follow-up appointment on May 7. “I’m actually working on my letter right now because I really do want to meet them,” Ezeli told The Undefeated this past week. “I have no clue who I got it from. It had to be a big person. There are so many different requirements to getting the cadaver. It was kind of crazy. It had to be a big person, about my weight and size, so that I could handle my weight as I play basketball. The person had to be young so it’s not brittle. And there’s all these different restrictions.

Trail Blazers center Festus Ezeli is expected to undergo surgery next week on his left knee, it was announced today by Neil Olshey, president of basketball operations. While the exact surgery date is pending, it will be performed by Dr. Robert LaPrade at the Steadman Clinic in Vail, Colorado. Ezeli will be out for the remainder of the 2016-17 season.

Are you at all optimistic about it? Festus Ezeli: I’m very optimistic. At the end of the day, I’m going to work my way to get back no matter what the rehab protocol entails. I just, I’ve done it a couple times now to where I can’t take shortcuts anymore. I’ve tried to take shortcuts in the past to try to get back on the court as soon as I could but at this point now, I have to address this issue that’s kind of getting worse, especially now that I can correct it instead of waiting until later.

You mentioned shortcuts. Do you feel, particularly last year, that you came back to fast? Festus Ezeli: Well, I did come back fast last year and that hurt me a little bit. But that’s a decision that you don’t think twice about making those decisions. We were in the Finals and we had a historic season, so for me to be able to contribute to my team getting to the Finals and possibly winning the championship, I’ll make that decision every time because you never know when you’re going to get back to the Finals. But that’s a decision that I’m paying for right now, so we’re going to correct it and we’ll be better for it. I will be better for it.
9 months ago via ESPN

Marc J. Spears: Blazers center Festus Ezeli statement to @espn @theundefeated: “Everyone has moments of setback. It’s unfortunate and disappointing that I am facing one of those right now. My aim is to fundamentally address issues that have lingered so that I can be the best that I can be, to help my team contend for and win the title. To all concerned I assure this, my love for the game nothing but ensures that I will be back better and stronger than ever and you can take that to the bank.”

Trail Blazers center Festus Ezeli last month suffered a minor setback in his comeback from a left knee procedure, CSNNW.com has learned. Ezeli suffered swelling in his left knee after he took part in two Blazers practices on Oct. 17 and Oct. 18, after which the Blazers have pulled back on his activity. “I practiced, and that’s what happens sometimes – it reacts, swells up, you go back, regress and come back,’’ Ezeli said Tuesday night before the Blazers game with Phoenix.

“It’s going to be slow,’’ he said of his recovery. “It is slow. But hopefully rewarding at the end.’’ The Blazers have not put a timetable on his return, but the front office has been clear since the summer that Ezeli was signed more for the spring than the winter. Neil Olshey, the team’s president of basketball operations, signed the 6-foot-11 Ezeli to a two-year, $15 million contract, with only $7 million and the first year guaranteed. Then asked during training camp if fans should be patient with Ezeli’s return, Olshey was emphatic. “They better be,’’ Olshey said. “I don’t know why they wouldn’t. There has to be a reality to Festus and the contract he signed. We are going to be patient with Festus … we saw what he can do in the Golden State series last season. But he’s going to take a little bit of time.’’

Festus Ezeli, who underwent a procedure on his left knee in August, is still not close to a return. “We’re taking it day by day,” said the 6-11 center, who signed a two-year, $15-million free-agent contract with Portland in July. “I’ve had some ups and downs.” Ezeli was recently given clearance to begin shooting drills, but has not yet participated in any 3-on-3 activity. “There’s no timetable (for a return) when it comes to this stuff,” he said. “It goes by feel. Some days I feel good. There are good days and bad days, but there’s progress overall.”

Unfortunately, one of their acquisitions, big man Festus Ezeli, is expected to miss all of training camp and most of the preseason after having his left knee injected with a bone marrow aspirate concentrate to alleviate pain in late August. “I personally don’t have a timeline,” Ezeli said while visiting at a Boys and Girls Club in North Portland on Thursday. “I’m taking it day by day because when it comes to this situation, you never go with a timeline. It will frustrate me if I go by a timeline. I just try to take it by how I feel so hopefully sometime soon I can get back on the court and start playing again.”
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September 21, 2017 | 5:25 am EDT Update
After missing the Knicks’ voluntary workouts, Porzingis, seemingly in no hurry to return, will be at Monday’s start of training camp for Media Day. He may or may not explain his shocking and unpopular decision to blow off an exit meeting with Jackson, Mills and Hornacek. According to an NBA source, Knicks brass was happy with his performance in Europe and fine with the timing of his New York return. (Hernangomez, whose Spanish squad won bronze, and Kuzminskas haven’t arrived to Tarrytown either; Euro training camps began in late July for the trio.)
Coach Nate McMillan said he has a starting lineup in mind heading into training camp, but wouldn’t reveal it. He did acknowledge, however, that Lance Stephenson likely will start the season as the sixth man. Stephenson likely will play starter minutes, but his versatility and energy makes him a logical candidate for playing off the bench. “I hope he can establish (that role),” McMillan said. “A sixth man is like a starter, and he can be a guy who can do a lot of things with that second group with his ability to handle the ball, score the ball. He’s an unselfish player.”
But after the trials of last season, Jackson is confident that after an off-season geared toward doing a better job of managing the chronic case of tendinitis, he is back to normal. “One hundred percent would always be great to feel, but this year I just want to be better than I was the day before,” Jackson said Wednesday at the practice facility in Auburn Hills.
Storyline: Reggie Jackson Injury
The days of coaches looking at a player’s offseason workout regimen, skeptical of the work load and maybe the credentials of whatever personal guru was administering it, appear to be over. Just as teams’ medical staffs have grown accustomed to injured players seeking out second opinions from orthopedists of their choosing, so have they gotten used to cooperating with, and sometimes embracing, their guys’ trainers into a comprehensive, full-calendar fitness program. Now some of the trainers who work with NBA stars far away from the lights and the cameras may be stars. Rob McClanaghan, Tim Grover, Idan Ravin, Chris Johnson and several others have or have had devoted followings among the league’s biggest names. A facility in Santa Barbara, Calif., called Peak Performance Project – “P3” for short – is a Mecca for players seeking the latest and greatest in bio-mechanics and training techniques.
Scott Brooks, Wizards: “Being a former player, I kind of know all the tricks. One of the tricks is: ‘I lifted a lot of weight this summer and bulked up.’ That’s a trick. You didn’t ‘bulk up,’ you just gained weight. And your body fat percentage is higher. When a player starts the conversation with that, you know he’s not in shape. But we touch are players all summer, we text them – that’s the only way you can communicate with some, who never check their voice messages – but you know once guys come in. The guys we’ve had come in the last couple weeks, I see no problem with their conditioning. … People who always say ‘The old school was better,’ taking all of October to get into shape, that’s one place the old school wasn’t better. … Guys are in shape. It’s big business.”