After the Portland Trail Blazers concluded a light practice Tuesday afternoon, Noah Vonleh, Caleb Swanigan and Zach Collins went through a heavy half court workout. For more than 20 minutes, the trio of Blazers' big men rotated through a spirited game of one-on-one, with each player taking turns going against the other with a variety of punishing post-ups, pull-up jumpers and physical moves to the hoop. The workout was so intriguing, so competitive, a crowd of teammates, support staff and coaches gathered to survey the battles, sitting on the floor and on courtside benches at the practice facility in Tualatin. "We were going hard," Vonleh said afterward, sweat dripping from his pores. "Those guys are really talented." The next time Vonleh plays, there will be a far bigger audience. The 6-foot-9 forward has been cleared to play Wednesday, when the Blazers visit the Utah Jazz at 6 p.m., and coach Terry Stotts says he will immediately join the Blazers' rotation. It'll be the first game of the season for Vonleh, who missed the first seven rehabilitating a right shoulder injury. Vonleh returned to 1-on-1 "contract" workouts Oct. 22, when he faced player development assistant Brian Barkdoll, and has quickly worked back into shape over the last 10 days. Practice time has been limited as the Blazers have played four games over the last seven days, so he has not participated in a 5-on-5 scrimmage. But he said he's worked extensively in 3-on-3 and 4-on-4 full-and half-court workouts. Most important, Vonleh said, he hasn't thought about his shoulder, which he injured in September during voluntary offseason workouts.
Noah Vonleh will make season debut when Portland Trail Blazers visit Utah Jazz
Oregonian | Nov 1