Capitals

Roy back to practice, says retirement not on mind

Roy back to practice, says retirement not on mind

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Brandon Roy has returned to practice on a limited, no-contact basis with the Minnesota Timberwolves a month after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee - an accomplishment by itself given the chronic problems he's had.

The former NBA Rookie of the Year and All-Star decided to revive his career in Minnesota this season. Roy said the latest knee trouble didn't prompt him to consider retirement, like he did a year ago when he was with Portland.

``I never thought about walking away. It was just, for me, do I want to go through another procedure? Or do I want to play through it?'' Roy said Thursday.

Roy said he felt fine in training camp, but he banged knees with another player in an exhibition game against Milwaukee on Oct. 26, and the discomfort worsened after another collision in a game against Indiana on Nov. 9. He had the operation on Nov. 19.

Roy has been doing light drills with the team but said there's no timetable for his return to the lineup. The Wolves have four games in the next five days, so he won't be back for that. He said he'll start to practice at full speed next week.

``The goal was to try to come in and help this team out, so I still have a lot of time left to try to do that. You can't prepare for something like that, but now I've gone through it. About a month later, I'm happy we got it done, and I feel better,'' said Roy, who played in five games before the surgery.

Roy acknowledged ``that small concern'' in the back of his mind that he'll never reach 100 percent strength in his knees again but said several times in a post-practice interview with reporters that he feels good and the pain is gone.

Whenever Roy retakes the court, he'll be overshadowed by certain other backcourt player coming off a knee injury. The Wolves host Dallas on Saturday, when point guard Ricky Rubio could make his season debut. The standout from Spain has been practicing at full speed and is simply waiting for clearance from the team. Coach Rick Adelman said Rubio hasn't had any setbacks.

``I really have no idea. Every day they're testing. They're doing work on him, to see where he's at. I'm sure we'll make that decision come Saturday,'' Adelman said.

Backup point guard J.J. Barea spoke eagerly of Rubio's return, echoing the sentiment of everyone on the team and around it.

``He wants to be out there with us and help us win, so I think for the whole city and for us it's good to have him back,'' Barea said.

Malcolm Lee, who has been starting at shooting guard lately with Roy out, left Wednesday's game with a hyperextended right knee. He didn't take part in Thursday's light workout, and the team said he wouldn't travel to New Orleans for Friday's game.

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Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter:http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

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Capitals Faceoff Podcast: On to Vegas!

The Capitals are the Eastern Conference Champions!

After dispatching Tampa Bay in Game 7, the Caps claimed the conference crown for just the second time in franchise history. But they're not done yet. Now it's on to Vegas to face the Golden Knights for the Stanley Cup.

JJ Regan and Tarik El-Bashir break down the Caps' win over the Lightning and look ahead to the matchup with the Knights.

Check out their latest episode in the player below or listen on the Capitals Faceoff Podcast page.

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Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

Michigan's Moritz Wagner could be Wizards' solution for a stretch-five

The pre-draft workout process can be an exhausting journey for players, with so many flights, hotel rooms and NBA arenas that they can all blend in together. Michigan big man Moritz Wagner, though, may have felt a sense of comfort in Washington for his pre-draft workout for the Wizards on Wednesday.

It was just over a year ago that his Michigan Wolverines cut down the nets at Capital One Arena as champions of the Big Ten conference.

"It was good memories, man. Never gets old," he said while glancing around the stadium.

Wagner, 21, will be seeing a lot more of Capital One Arena once he joins the NBA ranks and it is conceivable he ends up in Washington. They hold the 15th pick in the first round and the 44th pick in the second round and Wagner could be within their reach.

Wagner had an impressive workout in Washington and could provide what the Wizards need. He is a big, mobile and can spread the floor. Wagner was terrific at stepping out to hit threes off pick-and-rolls at Michigan and that ability would work well with Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall.

Wagner measured in at just under 7-feet at this month's NBA Combine, fifth-tallest among those who attended. He averaged 14.6 points as a junior this past season and made 39.4 percent of his threes on 4.1 attempts per game.

With three years of college experience and an NBA-ready jumper, Wagner believes he can step right in and help the Wizards.

"I think what we did at Michigan, sharing the ball and playing as a team, very organized basketball, that can help big-time," he said. "It's basically pro basketball I was playing on a different level."

As Wagner will tell you, he is very confident in his abilities. He is comfortable in his own skin and that includes openly discussing his faults. He feels good about his ability to score at the next level. Defense is where he needs to prove himself.

Despite his size, Wagner wasn't much of a rim protector in college. He averaged just a half-block a game as a junior. The Wizards need rim protection badly and he likely would not provide that.

Wagner, though, believes he can bring more to the table defensively than the numbers would suggest.

"I think I've been an offensive guy all of my life, but the more that you mature as a player, you understand that both sides are important. Without defense, you aren't going to play at any level," he said.

"I think the most important thing that I wasn't able to show in college is that I'm able to switch the ball-screen, especially with the way the league is going. Switch on everything and stay in front of guards as a big guy."

Wagner is from Germany and looks up to Mavs legend Dirk Nowitzki, who is entering his 21st season and will be in the Hall of Fame someday. Nowitzki's game has always been built around shooting and, though he developed into a decent shot-blocker in his prime, was never an elite rim protector.

Wagner hopes to follow in his footsteps playing a similar style.

"He was my MJ. He kind of shows you 'okay, this is possible and this is doable.' It's just basketball," Wagner said. "It gives you a lot of hope. It gives you a lot of belief and motivation."

Hear more from Wagner in his one-on-one interview with Chris Miller in our latest Wizards Tipoff podcast. His interview can also be found in the video above:

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