BY KERRY EGGERS/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Radio play-by-play broadcaster found it 'tough to be a fan'

Brian Wheeler says he is excited to return to the broadcasting booth with the Trail Blazers Monday night against Denver, if for no other reason than he's tired of watching games on the television.BLAZERS NEWS

"I found it tough to be a fan," says Portland's radio play-by-play voice, who missed the first 12 games of the season while recovering from scrotal lymphodema. "Not that I'm unemotional while calling games, but at least you have other things to worry about. When you're at home watching, you have nothing to do but get tied into the ups and downs of the game. It's a lot more frustrating.

"I missed (broadcasting) quite a bit. I'm very anxious to get back in the saddle again."

Blazers team doctor Karl Kaluza gave Wheeler the go-ahead to return after the broadcaster went through a high-protein diet and lympathic massage therapy for several weeks.

"I don't know there has been a ton of weight loss, but I'm eating and sleeping better, and (the affected area) isn't as inflamed as it was," Wheeler says. "I knew once I was able to sit for an extended period, I was on my way. The condition isn't 100 percent cured, but there's enough improvement I can go back to work."

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