The Portland Trail Blazers appear to be a team on the cusp in the Western Conference. That is, until a slew of injuries started taking their toll.

At the beginning of the last two regular seasons, people betting the NBA spread felt that the Blazers could be a real dark horse in the postseason. As we are halfway through the 2010-11 season, those same fans are wondering whether the Blazers will ever be the same.

For a second straight year, the Blazers have lost center and former first overall pick Greg Oden for the season. While he was supposed to be one of the key cornerstones, the other, three-time All-Star Brandon Roy looks like he’ll never be healthy enough to be an All-Star again.

Roy is dealing with some serious knee injuries that aren’t just going to cost him a week or two of action; it could cost him his career.

He quite literally has no cartilage left in his knees and has missed 32 of the team’s 55 games this season. As of now, the best case scenario is he plays sparingly when he does come back – maybe serve healthy minutes off the bench – and play just 65 to 75 games a year in that role from now on.

It’s a huge blow to Portland, especially when you consider the emergence of power forward LaMarcus Aldridge. With an entire healthy roster, there really isn’t much missing off of this Blazers squad. They have big men on the inside, excellent guard play, a solid point guard in Andre Miller and plenty of depth. But the reality is that injuries play a big part in sports and the Blazers simply haven’t been healthy over the last few seasons.

Considering Roy’s knee situation, it doesn’t look like they’ll ever get back to being that promising team they once looked like they’d be.