Will Greg Oden ever play Basketball again and if so at what level?
This is a question that many of us are asking and reading through a lot of the comments in the most recent post by Ben Golliver pointing to the article by Marc Stein regarding Oden's new contract it would seem that to many the answer is not very favorable. The whole subject of Blazer player injuries has, for good reason, been a sensitive one in recent years for Blazer fans. It is amazing with all this bad luck that the Blazers have managed to field a pretty decent group this year and I’m personally very optimistic about this year and what may become available to the Blazers this summer. Although the team is evolving, the future of the Center position is still a huge question mark as is the future of Greg Oden.
I have compiled a number of links that have information about Oden’s injuries. I’ve never seen a comprehensive article that gives the big picture of his condition. There is usually just information about the current injuries. When you have an idea of his overall situation it gives you a better idea of what we might expect. If you’re interested read the links and then give your feeling about Oden’s return either in the poll or by comment or both.
Oden’s injury problems started when he was in the sixth grade. Based on his age I am guessing it was near his 12th birthday that was on January 22, 2000. This article by Jason Quick outlines that problem and the surgery that resulted:
Based on that article I looked up what a hip pinning procedure would look like:
There is also a link within that article ( A Patient's Guide to Hip Fractures) showing a graphic of a fractured femur.
After the childhood hip surgery and a wrist injury in high school he played in college in his freshman year and took his team to the national championship game that they lost. He was drafted by the Blazers where his injury woes continued. Here is a list of some of his injuries linked to the article below the list:
In sixth grade, Oden underwent surgery to repair his hip . Following the surgery, one leg was then longer than the other, resulting in his unusual gait which is often misstaken for a limp.
His senior year of high school, Oden underwent surgery to repair a torn ligament in his wrist , an injury that kept him out until December for his freshman year of college, after which he helped push his team to the NCAA Championship Game, only to fall short.
On September 13th, 2007, during preseason before his rookie season, he underwent microfracture surgery to repair his right knee. He would miss the entire 2007-2008 season.
Oden managed to return from his first microfracture surgery only to have Andrew Bynum land on his foot on October 28th, 2008, injuring it . He would miss only two weeks, though.
Then on February 13th, 2009, he bumped knees with Corey Maggette and chipped his left patella . It was the first injury sustained to his left knee and he missed three weeks due to it.
He recovered from that and 2009-2010 was set to be his year. He was looking very much like finally the player he was supposed to be. Then on December 5th, 2009, he landed without contact on his left leg, and badly fractured his left patella . His recovery was projected to take him right up until training camp of 2010.
After missing training camp, preseason, and the start of the regular season , and after saying he wouldn't return until he was 100% healthy but that he could still be an impact player and that he was not a bust, it was announced on November 17th, 2010 that Oden would undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee and would miss the entire 2010-2011 season.
There is another list here that refers to a broken linked article on Dwight Janes’s old website that had to do with patellar tendonitis:
Here is another article with links:
His most recent ‘setback’ was described as: "Oden's setback is with a non-weight bearing ligament. He has no symptoms and doesn't feel restricted, but there is concern w/ the fragility" – Jason Quick - from this post from Ben Golliver:
There was an interesting recent fanpost by blacknoiseNW speculating about this ‘setback':
There were quite a few articles written about Oden’s first microfracture surgery. Here is a few of those articles:
When Oden fractured his patella it involved placement of pins and a wire. The article from the Tribune describes the procedure including the fact that Oden’s bone is dense:
There was also a number of articles having to do with Oden’s second microfracture surgery that was on his left knee. The first was on the right knee. There is information about the chances of success from this procedure both in general population and in professional athletes. The last link is a video of microfracture surgery:
Finally I’d like to point out that it is important to look at the alignment and balance of all the muscles, ligaments, joints and spine as being important to overall health and prevention of injury. You can ask yourself did all these injuries happen because of individual incidents or are they related to an overall condition? What is his overall structural posture and functional balance? In the article linked above: "Study shows limits of microfracture surgery done on Blazers' Greg Oden" by Joe Rojas-Burke, The Oregonian, there are several quotes as to recovery. In particular is this one: "Older age, the existence of ligament injuries, or a poorly aligned joint also cut the chances of a recovery, said Dr. Bert Mandelbaum an orthopedic surgeon with Santa Monica Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Group"
The information about Oden will probably remain sketchy for a while. Chris Haynes of CSNNW wrote two stories within a day of one another. The first one was questioning whether Oden would ever play again in a Blazer uniform. The second was seeing him at practice move fluidly but refusing to talk to the media.