Portland Trail Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan took questions on Friday afternoon regarding center Greg Oden, who underwent a successful arthroscopic procedure to clear out debris in his right knee in Vail, CO, on Friday.
As reported earlier this morning, Oden could undergo a similar arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in the near future. Going forward with that procedure must wait until a minor blood clot in Oden's left ankle, discovered during the pre-operative exam on Friday, is able to be treated. Buchanan said doctors would prefer the left knee procedure take place in the next 7-10 days, if the ankle allows.
To reiterate from earlier, Buchanan said that Oden officially remains "out indefinitely."
Here's a transcript of his comments following Friday's right knee procedure.
What was learned from the procedure?
"They went in there to do a [removal] of some loose articular cartilage in his right knee. They were able to go in there and do that successfully so nothing surprising. It played out like we hoped and expected it would."
What's the next step in determining whether the doctors will operate on Oden's left knee?
"I think that's something the doctors will continue to discuss. He has a minor blood clot in his left ankle that they want to address that first before a decision is made on the left knee. There's a likelihood of him getting something done on his left knee. It's a possibility. We'll see how it plays out the next couple of days."
Is the blood clot a result of the activity increase during his rehabilitation or something else?
"I don't know on that one. Greg had some discomfort in his left ankle and during the pre-operation ultrasound they found a minor blood clot that they want to treat before they do anything with the left knee."
How will they treat the ankle? Is that a procedure or icing or rest?
"I don't know that for sure. The doctors wanted to get through doing the right knee today and they've got some different options in dealing with the blood clot. They haven't given us specifics on that."
Surgery is an option on the ankle though?
"I would doubt it. I guess it's always an option but they don't feel like at this point that that's something they are going to have to do."
What is Oden's mindset? Did you get a chance to talk to him today?
"I have not. He literally just got done with the surgery not too long ago. He's in recovery there in Vail."
You used the phrase "out indefinitely." You said you were "less hopeful" and "less confident" of a return this season back in December. Is it fair to say after today you're even less hopeful now?
"It's tough to say. Having this procedure on the right knee and the possibility of his left knee doesn't increase the likelihood of him playing soon. We knew all along there was the possibility that he would not be able to play this season. Until the doctors are able to finish the right knee and if they end up doing the left knee, once they get through that, they'll be able to give us a better indication of what his timeline would be.
"We were aware this was a possibility, as was Greg. It's just kind of how it's played out. We're going to support Greg in any way we can to help him get through this and get himself healthy again."
What does this mean for your relationship with Oden next season? Is he still someone you consider a long-term piece?
"That's a ways off for us. He's going to be an unrestricted free agent. Us, just like the other 29 teams, will have to take into consideration the information. We've supported Greg from Day 1. It's a little ways off for us to give you any idea."
Given his current health, you can't commit past July 1 right now?
"That's still a ways off. Him being unrestricted, he's going to have options just like we would. When we get to [free agency] and have more information, we'll be able to make a decision."
You must be frustrated
"I just feel awful for Greg. Put aside how much we all want him to play and be on the court and help our team, he's a person, number one. You feel terrible he's had to go through all these injuries and setbacks. He's such a good person and you want to see him have success. All he's ever wanted to do is play basketball.
"To have these constant road blocks come up, you just feel awful for Greg. All we can do and all we want to do is be here and support him and help him get through this. We've been at his side in the past and we'll continue to be at his side."
Where will his rehabilitation take place?
"We'll work with the doctors in Vail and determine the best course of action once we get through that. For right now, he's staying overnight tonight in Vail and we'll talk again with the doctors in the next day or so."
Timeline-wise, when is the left knee procedure decision going to be resolved?
"A lot is going to depend on the blood clot getting taken care of. That's what the doctors want to focus in on before we proceed with anything with his left knee. Ideally, if we could do something, a similar procedure on his left knee, in the next 7-10 days that's what the doctors would like to do. Until they have a better feel for addressing the blood clot, which the doctors have stressed is minor. Before you were going to do something with his left knee you want to make sure that thing is completely addressed."
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