We're going to temporarily interrupt Guest Blogger Week because of the Oden surgery. We'll still have all our guest bloggers, it's just they'll each get bumped back a day. Right now my e-mail box is jammed with people asking if there's any information and what the effects could be.
As far as the first, they'll know more after the surgery on Thursday. Hopefully we'll hear a preliminary report soon after, as this is obviously the biggest story of the summer outside of actually winning the lottery and the whole city is waiting. Until we hear more reports speculation is no better than reading tea leaves. Keep watching Casey, Joe, and Jason at Oregonlive, Mike Barrett, and the posts and diaries right here. As soon as something is reported it'll be all over the place.
As far as what it means, obviously much depends on the surgery results. As several people mentioned in the comments of the post below if it were a full-blown knee rupture it hardly seems possible that it could have gone undetected for days. Therefore there's reason to hope it will be a relatively "minor" thing. That said, any kind of surgery is probably going to involve weeks of recovery, which at this point extends through the pre-season. I don't care who they are, rookies who miss training camp have a very hard time catching up. There's simply not enough practice time during the regular season to make up for it. Those who had visions of Oden coming out of the gate and ruling the league might want to adjust the timetable back a few months at least. Hopefully it won't be any more damaging than that. Since the upper expectations of the team weren't stellar this year anyway I'd say the overall impact will be relatively minor--providing, of course, that the injury to the knee is minor. In other words my best guess is that this modifies the short-term expectations for Oden and the team but hopefully not the long-term ones at all. That's just a guess though.
That doesn't change the fact that this feels like a gut-wrenching, soul-crushing blow to a lot of folks. I've had some e-mails about that too...some from folks in anguish and others from folks wondering whether people are overreacting. The short explanation is that both are understandable points of view. Yes, this kind of thing is part and parcel of professional sports and probably everything is going to be just fine. On the other hand Blazer fans are remembering Bill Walton's feet, Sam Bowie's leg, Steve Johnson's knees, Kevin Duckworth's waistline, Chris Dudley's free-throw stroke, Joel Przybilla's man-parts, and everything that's ever broken down on a whole litany of Blazer big men over the years. It seems like every Blazer pivot with even a tinge of hype and talent has had trouble. In fact looking back it seems nothing has been the same since the Walton fiasco. The Red Sox had the Bambino, we have the curse of the Big Redhead.
For those who are feeling sick to their stomachs today, let me declare something: If there is a curse it will not take hold here. This is a new day. These players are too wonderful and talented, this team is too well-run, and the future is far too rosy for even the worst curse to overcome. In fact right here, right now we're going to reverse, disperse, override, dispel, and otherwise abjure any bad juju that's hanging around this team or its big men. That's right...you and I, Blazer fans, we're going to do it. We owe Greg that at least.
Here's how it's going to work. You're going to write "Disperse the Curse" on a piece of paper. You can also make drawings, stitch embroidery, make macaroni pictures, or whatever you want. Draw a picture of Oden dunking over six opposing centers from different teams all at once. Paint Walton's foot and Bowie's leg with big red circle "NO" signs through them. Write a poem, write vows of victory, or just leave the page blank except for the dispersal sentence. If you have old Walton bobblehead dolls or locks of Shawn Kemp hair or Qyntel Woods trading cards or things that you suspect are bringing bad memories or bad juju you can throw those in too.
Take your piece of paper (and whatever else) and mail it to:
Blazersedge Curse Removal Department
P.O. Box 125
Genesee, ID 83832
In a week or so after enough stuff has accumulated I am going to take it all out to the backyard, burn it, and let the smoke rise to the heavens and drift away, symbolizing the removal of the old juju and our ascending hopes for Greg's knee and the future.
I will photograph the collection of notes and/or items you send and also the burning and post both on the site.
It's time to unite with confidence, Blazer fans. Like Mr. Oden we shall overcome. I look forward to your submissions. Brownie points to whoever has the coolest postage stamp.