Tonight, the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Houston Rockets 90-89 in a game that saw the Blazers lose center Greg Oden to a fractured left patella during the first quarter. According to the team, Oden's knee injury will likely cost him the rest of the 2009-2010 season.
This post includes full post-game reaction to Greg Oden's injury.
For Dave's must-read recap, click here.
For in-game updates posted earlier this evening, click here.
To read a haunting play-by-play account as the injury unfolded, check out my twitter. Read it in reverse order.
Here's a picture I took post-game of a clearly emotional Kevin Pritchard.
I'm obviously disappointed having worked so hard to get where I was. This is a setback, but I'll be back. It's in God's hands now. I want to thank the fans, my teammates and everyone in the Blazers family for all of their good thoughts.
Here is video of Portland Trail Blazers head coach Nate McMillan addressing the injury after the game.
Here is video of Portland Trail Blazers General Manager Kevin Pritchard addressing the injury after the game.
Nate McMillan's Post-Game Reaction to Oden Injury
Reaction to Oden's injury?
I mean, we've gone through it all year long. We just continue to get, as Greg said, these setbacks, where guys are getting injured and it's not something that we're tweaking, these are injuries that are keeping guys out for awhile. It's just unfortunate for him. I thought he was the most consistent player this short season, as far as what he brought to the floor, night in and night out, both ends of the floor. And to -- I didn't quite see what happened -- but for him to go through this is just unfortunate for him. Because he worked hard to get ready for this year.
How tough is it with all these injuries to get through the season?
Well, you know, the team that I've been looking for, I saw them tonight after that. With scrappiness, being together and connected. As I told them, I keep saying injuries are part of the game, we keep getting hit with some serious injuries. They have a chance as long as they stay together, play together, and play with the effort and intensity. I thought that team came together tonight after Greg went down. It was, I really feel, the first time I've seen them play like we're capable of playing and like we played last year, with the scrappiness, with heart, together on both ends of the floor. Execution was better. We end up pulling out a tough game against a very good team.
Did you say anything to Greg?
Yeah, he was right in the locker room with us at halftime. The gameplan, we talked about the adjustments we needed to make. He was sitting there, encouraring the guys to go out and get it done. He's been in the locker room until halftime and was there with us afterwards.
Can you talk about the compassion you feel for Greg?
Very unfortunate situation. I think he did all the things he needed to do this summer to get himself ready for this year. He came back and showed the potential we felt he had. I don't know if it was knee on knee tonight but just ... a weird situation. We don't know how long he's going to be out. We're hoping to get him back as soon as possible.
What did you say to the team at halftime?
We have to keep it together. That was the talk before the game. We knew Rudy was going to be out. That's what we need to do to win basketball games. To play hard, to scrap, that was part of what that practice was about yesterday. Playing hard, scrapping and staying together. Feeling sorry for yourself -- there's nothing we can do about that. There's injuries, there's opportunities for other guys. The only way we're going to have a chance is do what we did tonight, come together and play together.
He's done for the season.
No, that's not what I was told.
That's what we were told. That he's done for the season.
He's done for the season?
Cheri Hanson, VP of Communications: "Likely out for the season, ladies and gentlemen. It's not definitely. It's likely."
I'm going with likely.
Preparing yourself for possibility that he's out for the year?
I know it's going to be awhile. We do know it's going to be awhile. Joel stepped in last year and he's the guy who is next in line for us. Howard, again, will have to step up and play and that's where we go from here.
Will you go small more? Back to the 3 guard lineup?
We'll have to see. With Rudy. I'm waiting to see where Rudy is at. Then Dante and Pendergraph will maybe be back here in a few weeks but again opportunity for some other guys.
Did the team relax after Oden went down?
I thought they rallied. Whether they relaxed? I thought they came together. They huddled and they talked and they said some things to each other. That was what we've been looking for. Sometimes it takes adversity, like what has happened in the last few weeks, and the last couple of days, and tonight. But they came together, that's what they are going to need to do to give themselves a chance to win.
Kevin Pritchard's Post-Game Reaction to Oden Injury
Tonight was a setback. There's no doubt about that. Taking Greg back to get the X-rays was a challenge. We got back there, we got the x-rays, when we finally found out that the patella was broke, he was down. One thing that was pretty interesting about this, tells you what kind of kid he is, he kept wanting to know what the score of the game was. Every time we went by a TV out the back, he asked me to check the score on my Blackberry. That's the kind of kid he is. He is likely to miss the season. That's challenging because he's come back from a pretty tough injury or two and you guys know him, he's a great kid. He's going to bounce back from this. We've got to become a stronger team because of this. We've got to all rally because of our injuries but all the other teams are having some challenges and we've got to step up and there are some guys that really need to step up. Greg, it's a tough one. But we're going to help him as much as we possibly can.
What was his mindset, demeanor and attitude like?
We were trying to get the X-Ray done as fast as we could. We actually had to go upstairs to have it. Before, he was down. He's human. And then when we finally found out that it was broke, then some emotions welled up in him. Which, again, you can expect that. It was amazing, he kept coming back "What's the score of the game? What's the score of the game?" Doctor Roberts and [trainer] Jay Jensen did a great job of keeping everybody calm and putting out exactly what we are going to do, put the plan in place. He's going to be fine, he's going to be fine.
Did he suffer injury lifting up to block the shot?
I've seen the replay. Yeah, it looked like it was just a non-impact, where he was just trying to explode from the ground to make the block. I don't think he got hit. It's the same knee he hurt against the Golden State Warriors. I guess it's just kind of a freak accident.
How does this affect the future of this franchise?
Any time you lose a player of Greg's stature, we're not going to be as good. We built this team to withstand some injuries. The challenging part for me is sometimes life's not fair. You know. I've seen this kid work his tail off here. He has put in the work. He has done absolutely everything we've asked him to do. And more. And he's going to go through that again. And I know that's going to be challenging for him. Look, we're here, we're going to help him any way we can. He's going to fight back. I guarantee it. What comes back? I'm not sure. But He's going to fight it and he's going to come back as best he can.
Time to make a move?
I'd like to get past tonight but maybe it's time to look at that.
What might that be?
I don't know. Right now I'm just trying to support all of our injured players. That's the big thing.
Ever been a part of so many guys going down?
Never. Never. This is the most injuries. Nate. To some of our assistant coaches. To Mr. Allen. I've never been a part of something like this. But we're going to stay strong. We're going to fight through this. You're defined, your character is defined, through the tough times not the easy times. You're going to see that. We're going to pull through this.
A sense of shock?
I told everybody when I was back in the locker room, I felt like it was a punch to the gut. Yeah. I felt it when I came back out. The energy of the building was down. Everybody was not really thinking about the game. The whole crowd. And then we started to make a little run and they got back into it. It shows how great our fans are. They care for Greg, they care for Rudy, Travis, Batum, Jeff, Patty. They care about that stuff.
Make a move?
That's purely speculation. Right now I'm trying to focus in on helping Greg and Rudy in the short term and the other guys long term.
Why likely out for the season rather than definitely out for the season?
You always want to keep it open and give the kid some hope. Which he has always done. This kid has always done everything he was supposed to. He's going to get criticized for missing some games but he's a great kid. I can't tell you how much he's a great kid. He will pull through this. I know him. He's a tough kid. He cares. I'm telling you that he was more interested in the score of the game than how he was. I've never seen anything like that.
Further bad luck that he's with a franchise that had BIll Walton and Sam Bowie?
I think it's coincidence. There's no bad luck. It's just coincidence.
Blazers Owner Paul Allen's Reaction to Oden Injury
Well we've had this with the Seahawks the last few seasons too. So these things happen in sports. And thankfully we have a lot of talented players on the team that are going to have to step up their games and I believe they will.
After making this statement, Mr. Allen walked down the back hallway silently, head bowed.
LaMarcus Aldridge's Reaction to Oden Injury
I walked over and I looked and it was just 'wow.' It was kind of breathtaking to see it was an injury like that. I pray for him. I know he's a very confident person and I know he will come back strong from this. It's very unfortunate.
He didn't do anything [on the play]. People don't understand that injuries are part of the game. We are at risk every time we play. Injuries are going to happen and it's unfortunate it happened to him. Like we said, he's going to be confident and come back strong. I look forward to him coming back.
Brandon Roy's Reaction to Oden Injury
Did you talk to Greg?
Yeah I talked to him for a quick second. But you know he had a lot of medical people around him. I just told him, 'man, keep your head up.' On the court he looked at me like 'sorry' and put his head down. I was like, 'nah, no way, man, no way.' You can't predict these things. You've got to do your best to stay positive. We're going to do our best to fill in for you. I just kept trying to tell him, man look, we love you. Get better. He's more upset that he's feeling like he let us down and that's now the way to be.
Where do you go from here?
Keep playing. Opportunity. That's all I really look at things. Opportunity for guys to step in and we a lot of guys have opportunities now that Greg, Nic and Trav are down. We have a chance to make something great out of what people think are bad.
You went running over to him when he went down. What was going through your head?
You know when he fell, I went initially to help pick him up. I thought he just fell when Brooks -- when they... I don't even know what happened -- I seen him grabbing his knee and I'm thinking he's yelling like that hurts, like that's really serious. Then he rolled over and I seen it, and I was like, 'oh wow, this is serious.' I don't know. I almost like panicked. Like 'stop the game.' Something crazy to be a part of. Then we tried to relax, didn't want to make him panic.
He was in here during halftime.
Yeah, he came in here during the half. He had a brace on. He told us keep fighting. Guys kind of joked around a little, try to loosen him up. Greg feels like he's letting us down. We tried to keep him loose, and let him know we'll be alright, he just has to get better.
Kevin Durant's Reaction to Oden Injury
Oklahoma City "Thunder" forward Kevin Durant tweeted...
Man please pray for my bro Greg Oden as well..
Joe Freeman quotes Blazers Owner Paul Allen...
"That's the kind of thing that you hope certainly doesn't happen," Allen said of Oden's injury. "Greg was just starting to come into his own. Hopefully they'll be able to repair the kneecap and he'll be in good shape. I just said, 'Tough one and ha ng in there.'"
Jason Quick quotes Houston's medical staff...
Replays showed Oden never touched Brooks; it appeared he suffered the injury while leaping. He immediately clutched the knee and yelled, sending veteran Houston trainer Keith Jones scrambling to his aid.
"I heard him yell," Jones said. "When I got there, his knee looked irregular."
John Hollinger writes...
It was perhaps the ultimate irony: On a night where the Blazers wore their retro uniforms from the 1970s, their star center suffered a season-ending injury. As it was with Bill Walton and Sam Bowie, so it goes with Greg Oden. The Blazers' big man suffered his second season-ending knee injury in three pro seasons, a fractured left patella suffered in the first quarter of the Blazers' 90-89 win over Houston tonight.
Wendell Maxey writes...
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.
Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey tweets...
Best wishes to Greg.
Much, much more from tonight over at Blazers.com.
-- Ben Golliver | (firstname.lastname@example.org) | Twitter