Greg Oden is not a Blazer anymore, nor will he ever be again, but the city of Portland will always have a strong connection with their favorite broken toy. That’s why we like to track his progress as he prepares to make his NBA return in Miami, 3,000 miles away. Up until now, it’s been all great news for Greg, but it looks like his uphill battle just got steeper.
Days after shining in his first 5-on-5 practice with the Miami Heat, Greg Oden was forced to take a step back due to swelling in his left knee. It honestly doesn’t matter which knee it was, as he has had multiple problems with both, resulting in (among other procedures) three microfracture surgeries. That’s an average of one per leg to those who remember his cell phone scandal.
The Heat had been optimistic that Greg could participate in at least one preseason game, but that is a bit of a reach at this point. They have four games remaining and nine days to play them. Seeing as Greg Oden has not participated in an NBA basketball game, preseason or otherwise, in almost four years (December 5th, 2009) I give him about a zero percent chance of seeing the court in that stretch.
Honestly, he won’t play much (if at all) during the regular season either. Greg’s history speaks for itself, but when your knees can’t handle an intra-team scrimmage during preseason practice, you’re not going to waltz into an NBA game and be able to contribute. Let’s not forget that previous “unspecified setbacks” led to entire seasons missed here in the Rose City.
Still, I’m pulling for him. I harbor no ill will toward Greg for his years of misfortune and I think it would do him good, as a man whose time on this earth will extend beyond his stint in the NBA, to experience some degree of professional success. Just one postgame interview full of smiles would be worth it for me, even if it was preceded by a Miami victory.
Greg Oden returns to the Rose Quarter on December 28th, hopefully ready to play.