Roy returns for Trail Blazers

By John Hollinger

PORTLAND -- Brandon Roy has returned for Game 4 of the Portland Trail Blazers' first round series against Phoenix today, after making a rapid recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery just eight days ago. A shocked Rose Garden Arena crowd erupted in roars after he checked in with 4:06 left in the first quarter -- with the theme from "Rocky" playing.

A team source said Roy couldn't hurt his surgically repaired left knee any more because the surgery itself -- for a partially torn meniscus in his left knee -- was much less invasive than originally expected. At first, the prognosis was that he'd be out four-to-six weeks; that was later adjusted to one-to-two weeks, and today's return means he's at the low end of that scale.

Roy "wouldn't take no for an answer," according to the source, and insisted he play after working out yesterday and earlier today. Unusually, the team conducted a shootaround until just before the 90-minute window when they're required to allow the other team onto the court; that, presumably, was to test the feasibility of activating Roy.

Blazers owner Paul Allen was in on the decision and fervently supported it, according to the source. Roy isn't in basketball shape but presumably would give a big lift to a Blazers team that has been blown in its past two games and trails two games to one in their best-of-seven series.