The Portland Trail Blazers have sure come a long way from the Jail Blazer era, we have a set of good players who know what they are doing, but Blazers seem to be welcoming a new era, the era of Frail Blazers. Starting with Oden’s second injury in 2009 the Blazers have been injury prone to a larger than life extent.Â
It all started in 2008-09 season when Trevor Ariza, then with LA Lakers committed a hard foul on Rudy Fernandez earning a flagrant II. The Portland Guard had to be carried out of the arena in a stretcher leaving team mates and fans shell shocked, Rudy had injured his back missed the rest of his rookie season and a fair part of his sophomore season. Currently in his third season, the impact of the injury still lingers on him and he has not returned to his ‘3 point machine’ form yet.
Nic Batum injured his shoulder in the off season playing in the European league. Freshly drafted players of 2009 Jeff Pendergraph, Dante Cuningham and Patty Mills, all had to undergo surgeries and procedures even before they could debut for the Blazers.Â
The curse continued with centers Oden and Pryzbilla both breaking their knee, Pryzbilla broke all rules when he injured his other knee as well after falling down at home. It didn’t stop there, Roy, Outlaw, Blake had some sprains, twists and turns and missed a few matches. Bay less tripped and fell and missed a couple of games, and coach Nate injured his ankle during practice and missed a few road games.
Portland continued to exhibit grit and took these shortcomings as a challenge. With guidance from veteran Juan Howard, Portland won a fair number of matches and made it to the playoff second year in a row. But the Blazer team bowed again, this time to Phoenix Suns, who feasted on the depleted Blazers.
Entering the 2010-11 season, except for acquiring Mathews from Utah, the rooster is almost the same, and so are the injuries. Pryzbilla is on and off after his recovery. Oden has been ruled off for the season, Franchise face Brandon Roy is out indefinitely, Pendergraph has been waived off.Â
The Blazers are struggling on field and tire out in the fourth quarter. Their stamina runs out since each player has to play for more than 35 minutes. The absence of Roy, Oden and the constant injury list means more playing time for the others. Opponents use this and make runs in the last quarter, by then the Blazers have run out of steam and end up losing.
What seemed like impossible when the team wins, looks miserable when they loose. Last season when Blazers were reduced to eight fit players and yet continued to win matches, that was nice, it bought out the determination of the rest of the team and the people watching the game.Â
But trying to do the same thing year after year is not a good strategy. There is a reason the Rose Garden arena has sellout record of 125 games and counting. But if nothing is done to make available at least 12 in form players, who can actually play 30 min each, then the Trail Blazers are looking at another era, the Frail Blazer era, where again fan following will become fan frustration and soon the team will need another reshuffle.Â
It’s will be in the best of everybody’s interest that the team also undergo a shuffle as the front office and fit players fill the rooster, we may not win a championship with the new shuffle, but we will hardly make it to the playoff in the current form. Ardent fans will continue to support the Blazers but it’s only just if the Trail Blazers put on a good show for the fans and convert matches like the ones against Miami this Sunday into victories.Â