Los Angeles -- Portland Trail Blazers forward Jared Jeffries hasn't played in over a month. To be exact, the last game he received action in was against the New Orleans Hornets on March 10.
But he wants to change that.
The 31-year-old, 10-year veteran admits he has lost a step or two due to various knee injuries and surgeries, but he says he is not retiring at the end of the 2012-13 season after only appearing in 38 games.
He wants to play a couple more years and he realizes Portland might not be the right fit for him going forward.
“If my role is to be similar to this year, just to do that, then I would have to make a decision,” Jeffries told CSNNW.com. “But I would like to play. I feel like my knee responded well and I feel like my knee feels good enough. Coming into this year, just getting the chance to be on this roster and being in a good situation was what I was looking for. But how I feel physically right now, I want to see if I can play a couple more years.”
Jeffries has two years left on his deal but it is not guaranteed. It is likely he will become a unrestricted free agent this summer considering he wasn't used much on the court.
He may not possess the athleticism or quickness that made him such a defensive talent in his earlier years, however his knowledge of the game and professionalism is his strongest asset at this stage of his career.
“Jared has been the consummate professional,” Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts said. “He comes to work everyday, he helps the young guys, he has a seriousness about his work ethic and he has accepted and embraced his role on the team rather he's playing or not playing.”
The 6-10 forward is feeling pretty good these days after he had a Orthokine procedure done on his right knee in Germany performed by Dr. Peter Wehling last summer. It is the same knee injections Kobe Bryant, Alex Rodriguez and others have made so famous.
A job in the NBA front office or coaching is in his future, but he says that will always be there. He made it clear, right now it's about getting the most out of his playing career before he doesn't have anything left.
“I feel better than last year,” he said. “Last year my knees felt so bad. So far it's been good, maybe it's the result of not playing that many minutes, but whatever I can do to elongate my career, play a longer career in less pain, I'm with it.”
What will determine if you are back in Portland?
“Just how much I have a chance to play,” he said. “When you've been in the NBA for a long period of time, you're not playing for another contract, you're just playing for the love of the game and a chance of making the playoffs. And I think that's what I'm looking for. Just a chance to grow and play.”