06 December 2009
There was a family of four sitting to the left of the Houston Rockets bench watching the Portland Trail Blazers trying to defend Aaron Brooks on his way to the rim.
When Greg Oden collapsed to the floor writhing in pain after trying to block Brooks' shot, the foursome all turned their heads in horror at first sight of Oden’s concaved left knee. The same went for the majority of fans when the replay flashed on the giant HD jumbotron screen hanging at the Rose Garden.
No one could bear to look or even wanted to fathom what just occurred. The Blazers young center wheeled off on a stretcher with his left knee stationary. A prognosis from the Portland Trail Blazers reached the masses at 8:19 pm: MRI confirms Oden fractured left patella. He’ll undergo surgery to repair the injury and is likely out for the season.
Said to be a “non impact”injury, the loss of Oden has a huge impact on Portland especially since it might have been avoided after what happened this past February.
This is the second-straight season Oden has injured his left knee cap.
Last season before the All-Star Game, Greg bumped his left knee with Cory Maggette at Golden State on February 13, 2009 causing Oden to miss three weeks due to a fractured knee cap. At that time, Portland opted for an MRI over surgery saying the left patella was chipped. They believed then any swelling or stiffness would eventually wane and surgery wasn't needed. Instead, Oden rested and returned to action with no major setbacks – that is until Saturday night against Houston.
Now this is beyond a major setback.
Could this really have been avoided with surgery to the left kneecap last year to simply go in and repair the chip?
Is it possible to have a chronically poor kneecap?
It's up for discussion at this point.
Early last March, Portland essentially admitted they shouldn’t have listed Oden's status as day-to-day. Team doctors and trainers knew then they were dealing with a potential long-term injury. And they were right.
Knowing this is the same knee that Oden suffered a chipped knee cap last February makes his broken kneecap now that much more devastating. It also makes the healing process even longer. Out for this season is one thing. Not knowing when he will return at all is even more concerning for Portland.
It’s not the first we’ve heard of broken kneecaps this season.
Blake Griffin's NBA debut was pushed back indefinitely after the Los Angeles Clippers revealed in late October that their No. 1 overall draft pick suffered a broken left kneecap. He was said to be out six weeks. His return now has been pushed back until mid-January. It could be longer. But even Griffin in this case has an advantage over Oden.
Blake doesn’t have history with his left kneecap and Greg most certainly does.
“I’m obviously disappointed having worked so hard to get to where I was,” Oden said in a statement released by the Blazers.
“This is a setback, but I’ll be back. It’s in God’s hands now.”
The franchise is obviously reeling from the loss of Greg Oden (again), but right now that’s the best time table around.
Update: Did Portland say goodbye to their playoff promise and hello to the NBA draft lottery by losing Greg Oden again?
"The draft pick of a lifetime has essentially been wasted, and Portland must now embark on yet another rebuilding program. Plus, with the not-so-secret disruption of team chemistry resulting from the signing of Andre Miller — who has to start, wants to start, and thought he would be starting — the Blazers are even in worse shape than they were three years ago," Rosen writes.
"It's hard to imagine that Portland will be interested in re-signing Oden when his contract expires in 2011."
Portland knows what life can be like without Greg Oden, but to suggest the Blazers would decline re-signing him at this point is still premature.
The only train of thought right now is to get the kid healthy.
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