"Now, even our injured players are getting injured,'' lamented Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan before Sunday night's game at Denver.
McMillan got a call Saturday afternoon from athletic trainer Jay Jensen with the news Portland center Joel Przybilla had slipped in the shower earlier in the day at his Milwaukee home. It was confirmed Sunday that Przybilla, who was lost for the season Dec. 22 due to a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee, had re-ruptured that tendon in the mishap and will undergo in a few days his second surgery in 2 ½ months.
"At first Jay called me right before (the Trail Blazers) left (Saturday) for Denver and said, 'You're not going to believe this,''' said McMillan, whose team has been riddled by injuries all season. "I didn't when he said it ... It's been that type of season where we've had this happen. We've just got to keep moving forward.''
Although McMillan and other Trail Blazers officials didn't want to speculate on when Przybilla might be able to return, the injury could be career threatening for Przybilla, 30, who has one more season left on his contract at $7.4 million. Przybilla had gone down just 17 days after Portland's initial starting center, Greg Oden, had been lost for the season due to a knee injury.
After being hurt, Przybilla flew to Portland, Ore., on Sunday to be examined. It was there an MRI confirmed the re-rupture.
"It's a tough situation,'' said Trail Blazers center Marcus Camby, who was acquired last month from the Los Angeles Clippers to help fill the void due to the injuries to Oden and Przybilla. "They were saying before (that Przybilla's injury) was going to be pretty tough to come back from. But now, after doing it again, hopefully God is on his side and he can make a miraculous comeback. But it's going to take some time.''
Przybilla had undergone surgery Dec. 24, and McMillan said he had been doing well in his rehabilitation. He said Przybilla's advancement perhaps played a role in the freak accident.
"You're at a huge risk when you're three, four months out (from surgery),'' McMillan said. "You start to think you can move and start to feel a little better moving a little faster. You just have to be careful ... Jay said he was doing great, and I'm sure Joel was starting to feel better and got a little bit more comfortable.''
Przybilla averaged 4.1 points and 7.9 rebounds this season and has 10-year averages of 4.2 points and 6.5 rebounds. He long has provided a strong defensive presence for the Trail Blazers.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter@christomasson