I just heard Jay Jensen talking about training camp, and I realized how good the Blazers will be this year if the starters can stay healthy. Having Greg Oden healthy and ready for the next play-offs would simply be extraordinary, but Brandon and Nicolas playing 90 games would also knock down quite a few opponents.
That got me thinking about how much pain Brandon and Nicolas endured last season to get 50 wins. And I have to admit I don't give enough active thought about how much they sacrifice. Just look at our retired NBA superstars to see a range of maladies that they could be looking forward to.
Well that brought me back to Oden. This is hard to say, but I just try to put myself in his shoes (which would need two of me to fill). I know that I would be striving to get back on the court and prove all my doubters wrong, and to earn that #1 draft pick contract that I know I deserve. But I can't possibly imagine what it would be like to wake up in pain and have to battle through months of training just to literally get back on my feet. And I'd be looking at all those big warriors (e.g., Bill, Kareem, Sam, Patrick) who came before me and where they are now.
I think I can imagine what it's like to be competitive, but to have to face all that pain and all those critics... and to know that all my hard work is going to cause me a lot more pain in the long run... I just don't know if I could do it. Sorry if that comes off negative, but I am very impressed with the amount of effort that this young man is giving for the team, and also the dignity that he demonstrates while he's doing it.
EDIT: Some comments are pointing out that Greg is being well compensated (overpaid) for what he's delivered so far. And it's certainly in his best interest to get healthy ASAP. I have no argument with any of that. My point is that many of us don't have the strength of character it takes to put in the kind of effort that's required, and at the end of the process all of us Trailblazers fans and the organization are going to reap the rewards. So I'm not saying we should be giving anyone more appreciation than what's due. I am saying maybe he's earned more appreciation from us, the fans, than what we've given him so far.