Transcript: Steadman Clinic Orthopaedic Surgeon Discusses Greg Oden Microfracture Knee Surgery

On Friday, the Portland Trail Blazers announced that center Greg Oden underwent successful microfracture surgery on his left knee conducted by Dr. Richard Steadman and Trail Blazers orthopedic surgeon Dr. Don Roberts at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo.

Thanks to a great find by JAWKS, here's a CNNSI.com video interview with Steadman Clinic orthopaedic surgeon Tom Hackett, discussing the microfracture surgery and what lies ahead for Greg Oden.

Dr. Hackett says a return to the court is "very realistic" and that attempting a comeback is "absolutely worth the risk." He also says Oden has suffered a "devastating injury" and estimates that Oden will "be out probably at least a year or so."

Previous recovery timetable estimates include...

  • Joe Freeman of The Oregonian wrote that the surgery "is expected to sideline [Oden] between six and 12 months." 
  • Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports reported that Oden and his agent, Bill Duffy, are aiming for a nine month recovery timetable, which would make Oden available for the start of training camp next fall.

I've transcribed the interview in full. CNNSI's questions are paraphrased. Hackett's answers are word-for-word and in blockquote.

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As a seven footer who had now undergone two microfracture surgeries, how realistic is it that he can compete at a high level again?

 

I think it's very realistic he can come back. It's a devastating injury, he'll be out probably at least a year or so, but there's a very good chance he can come back. The microfracture surgery is on his left knee, previously he had one done on his right knee. But you're right, he's seven foot tall, he's a big man, and if you bring a lot of pressure to the basketball court like he does, that unfortunately puts a lot on your knees.

 Do previous knee injuries impact the rehab process?

Absolutely. And probably more importantly, you'll remember he fractured his patella in December of 2009 on that same left knee which he is having operated on now. That's a long time to not have normal muscle firing patterns and mechanics. So it's going to take quite a while to get back to full force. 

He's had a laundry list of injuries. He had a broken hip as a child. Has that led to knee injuries?

The hip bone is connected to the knee bone is connected to the ankle bone. It's all a kinetic chain as we call it. It's possible he could have some abnormalities in alignment with that hip, but it's unlikely it would have a dramatic impact to these particular injuires that he has now. 

What makes for a successful microfracture surgery?

That's a great question. One is, technique in the operating room. Another is patient selection. You have to make sure that the alignment is just right, that the environment of the knee is just right and that the surgery is done the right way. But probably the number one successful aspect of this surgery is the rehabiliation. The rehab is long, it's not particularly hard, but it's a little arduous and you have to have a lot of patience. Doing the rehab exactly the right way is truly one of the most successful aspects of getting a player back.

Should he come back or is he risking further injury?

I'd try to get him back. It's absolutely worth the risk. The risk [of re-injury] is pretty low with microfracture surgery.

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If you're a glutton for punishment, here's the audio of my Oden-centric radio spot this morning on 95.5 FM's The Morning Sports Page. The interview starts at roughly the four minute mark.

-- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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