MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Brandon Roy had just wrapped up a lengthy workout with a spirited game of five-on-five and gathered with several of his new Minnesota Timberwolves teammates near halfcourt.
"Let's run it back," Roy said, with several others agreeing. "One more."
That's when Wolves assistant Shawn Respert stepped in, waving his arms and telling everyone that they were done for the day. A little more than two weeks away from the beginning of training camp, Roy's chronic knees are feeling great. And it's up to the Timberwolves coaching and medical staff to try to keep it that way.
"This is the best I've felt in a long time," Roy said Thursday. "The reason why I say that is I'm able to improve. I'm able to come in the gym and work on my game and get better. Where I felt that the last couple years in Portland I was just doing my best to maintain.
"That's the biggest thing I'm excited about is I'm in the gym, I'm working hard and coach has to tell me to stop playing instead of me saying, 'OK that's enough. I'm feeling my knees.'"
That's going to be the balancing act the Wolves perform with Roy, in training camp and in all likelihood for much of this season. The former Portland Trail Blazers All-Star had his contract cleared with the amnesty clause before last season, and he abruptly retired because of knee issues that derailed a brilliant young career.
After sitting out last season, Roy's knees felt good enough for him to come back. With the Timberwolves in search of a veteran presence at shooting guard for one of the youngest teams in the league, they signed Roy to a two-year deal and now are working to get him prepared for the grind of camp and the long NBA season.
Roy has been in town since the start of September to make sure his son could start school here on time, and he's taken advantage of the early arrival to throw himself into workouts and establish a new routine aimed at minimizing the pain in his knees.
"I set a plan for myself going into the season and so far I haven't had any setbacks," Roy said.
Roy has been working primarily with Respert and David Adelman, as well as the strength and conditioning staff to get ready, and the coaches see Roy's approach as a breath of fresh air for a team that had too many young players who didn't know what it takes to be successful in the NBA.
"We know we had a situation here last season where it was really difficult for guys to be self-starters," Respert said.