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Chad Buchanan: Greg Oden Is "Taking The Next Step" In Rehab

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Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan gave Brian Berger of 750 AM The Game an update on the rehabilitation progress of center Greg Oden. Audio here. ----------------------- "Greg is kind of taking the next step in his rehab, doing some work out on the court. We're taking it very slow with Greg. We want to make sure that he's completely comfortable and confident in his knee before he steps back out there. We're being cautious with his return. Like I said, we want Greg to feel completely ready when he does get to the point where he's ready to step back out there again. But there's definitely some challenges ahead for Greg to get to that point. We're going to be by his side the whole way." Could he return this year? "I hope so. Nobody knows at this point. We're just going to follow what the doctors are telling Greg to do with his recovery. We hope so but there's no guarantees at this point." Does he have a loyalty to the Blazers? "Yeah, I think Greg is very appreciative of the commitment we've made to him over the years. He knows where we stand with him. Ultimately, at the end of the day, he is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and it's the right of every free agent to go search around and see what options are out there. I anticipate that he will do that. He knows where we stand with him and we've been by his side from day one. We hope to see him out there having success on the court again." ----------------------- Blazers president Larry Miller announced on December 9 that Oden had suffered a "setback" that left the team "less confident" that Oden would play during the 2011-2012 season. The Blazers reportedly reduced their $8.8 million qualifying offer to Oden to $1.5 million because of the setback. Buchanan also said: "Joel Freeland is a guy we'll look hard at bringing over from Europe next summer." Freeland, a British big man selected by the Blazers in the 2006 NBA Draft, has been starring for Unicaja Malaga in Spain's ACB league. -- Ben Golliver | benjamin.golliver@gmail.com | Twitter

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