It’s been eight weeks to the day since Joel Freeland sprained the MCL in his right knee, an injury that has caused him to miss the last 26 Trail Blazers games. But the way things are looking, Freeland won’t have to sit out too many more. For the first time since crumpling to the Moda Center floor eight weeks ago, Freeland on Tuesday went through “contact” work at the Blazers’ practice, the next and perhaps most important step in his recovery. Afterward, the 6-foot-11 power forward/center said he was hopeful he would be able to play in one of the Blazers’ final two regular season games, either Sunday against the Golden State Warriors or next Wednesday against the Los Angeles Clippers. “I felt pretty good, I was moving pretty well,” Freeland said of his Tuesday workout. “We’ve got one more week left. Four games. I’m trying to get back for either the Golden State game or the Clippers game — I would really love to get back for Golden State. That would be the ideal situation for me.” And what are the odds? “It’s definitely feasible,” he said. Freeland went through a host of contact drills during Tuesday’s practice, going head-to-head against center Meyers Leonard and Blazers assistant coaches. He worked on both offensive moves and defensive positioning, testing his right knee with an array of drills centered on the elbow and post. After pushing himself the last couple of weeks with increased conditioning, including a host of lateral drills, it was the most basketball-related work Freeland has done since injuring himself during the first quarter of a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder eight weeks ago. It did not come without pain, but Freeland said that was to be expected. He has accepted that he’ll have to play through nagging pain, which he said is OK because there is no risk he’ll cause any long-term damage on his right knee.
Trail Blazers' Joel Freeland goes through 'contact' portions of practice, eyes regular-season return
Oregonian | Apr 9