Former Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden has reportedly dropped significant weight as he continues to pursue a return to the NBA.
I realize that I'm running the risk of jinxing him by predicting this, but at this point, Greg Oden's entire professional career has been one big jinx, so this would really just be a drop of water in the ocean. With that said, I'm predicting that during 2013, Greg Oden will record a double-double in an NBA game. Chances are you think this is a ridiculous idea because you either (a) think predicting that a guy who was the no. 1 pick in the NBA draft five years ago will get a double-double isn't exactly ballsy, or (b) think there's no chance in hell of this happening.
If you're in the former group, this seems like a good time to remind you that when the 2013-14 season rolls around and Oden is (hopefully) set to make yet another comeback, it will have been almost four full years since he last played in the league. The odds of him making it through a month, let alone an entire season, without getting hurt are so astronomically against him that many people think he should just retire now and not even bother trying. Which brings me to those of you in the second group. I know that Oden is trying to make an unprecedented comeback, and suggesting he can produce at a high level even for one game is borderline insane. But I'm sticking by my prediction because I've seen firsthand how motivated he is to salvage his career. And by that, I mean that he's lost almost 30 pounds during his time off and is moving better than I've ever seen him move since he left Ohio State. Hopefully shedding weight will relieve some stress on his fragile body, and for at least one night in 2013 - probably against the Wizards - he'll tap into the fountain of youth and show why he was once considered the best big-man prospect since Lew Alcindor.
Earlier this month, Blazers forward Nicolas Batum said Oden still wants to play in the NBA. Oden said recently that he would become a gym teacher if he's not able to return to the NBA and he's been in Ohio State's gym at least once. He's also been spotted at various hangouts in Columbus, Ohio, during OSU's football season and his agent has said on multiple occasions that Oden would pursue a return to the court for the 2013-14 season.
Back in May, Titus wrote a lengthy piece on Oden that discussed his time in Portland. Titus, who has known Oden since high school, discussed that interview in multiple radio interviews and podcasts. Titus also wrote a book that discussed his friendship with Oden.
Oden underwent microfracture surgery on his left knee and arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in February. In May, he underwent Orthokine treatment on both of his knees. He hasn't played in an NBA game since December 2009.
Oden, 24, holds career averages of 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in 82 appearances.
Hat tip: Jakob
-- Ben Golliver | firstname.lastname@example.org | Twitter