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Full Court Press

Surveying the site this morning, waking up to a new week, it was clear that we have posted enough pictures of Greg Oden in pain.  Thought I'd try to fix that.

The media's reaction to Greg Oden's knee injury runs literally every gamut of every emotion of every spectrum that's available.  There are writers who reacted to Saturday's tragic turn of events by pouring their hearts out. By drowning themselves in numbers. By tracking down every last quote to put out the most profound, the most accurate record of events.  There are others looking to move forward.  Writers setting goals. Writers settling scores. 

If the circumstances weren't so horrifying, my first inclination would be to stand back and marvel at the range of the body of work produced in the last 48 hours. There are some notable exceptions, of course.

Start your morning with Dave's post from Saturday and his post from this morning, if you haven't already.  

Here's the rest of our Oden coverage this weekend if you're playing catch-up: Breaking NewsPost-Game ReactionSurgery Announcement

If you're looking to pass along well wishes to GO, here's a good place to start.  

Click through for Oden reaction and Power Rankings.

-- Ben Golliver | ( | Twitter

Holly MacKenzie writes...

You will make it because you've made it through the dark days in a hospital bed, through rehab, limping, crutching, watching, praying, waiting, hoping, wishing and yearning to be back before. You have been through the dark and made it to the light. It isn't fair that you have to do it again. None of us can even pretend that it is. But it's here. Another challenge. You will conquer this because the people around you will not allow you to stay in the dark. Your smile deserves to shine in the light.

This isn't even about basketball. It is, but it's about so much more. It's about a dream that happens to be rooted in the game. It's about you mattering to us because the game matters so much to you. If ever you need to be reminded of that support, remember Carl Landry grabbing your hand because he didn't know what else to do to tell you he was with you. Sometimes there are no words. There definitely isn't an explanation for this.   

David Aldridge writes...

And then, finally, comes 11:41 p.m., and a text from Cheri Hanson, the Blazers' VP of Communications, whom I've known for 20-plus years and is the gold standard in public relations people. Saturday was her night off, but nobody needed to tell her she had to come to the Rose Garden when Oden went down. It's the family business; Cheri's dad, Bob White, was the Blazers' original PR guy, and she's done it with distinction everywhere she's been. She doesn't suffer fools -- especially when they are her own players or coaches -- and she is as straight a shooter as you will find. Anyway, the text:

MRI confirms Portland C Greg Oden fractured left patella. Will undergo surgery to repair. Likely out for the season.

Man, sometimes this league makes you cry.

Chris Tomasson writes...

"It's just coincidence,'' said Prichard, who hasn't ruled out Portland making moves before the February trade deadline to replace the big fellow. "There's no bad luck.''

But don't bring that up to Oden. He's liable to resume apologizing.

Oden is so conscientious that before the game was over, he had issued a statement that was handed to the media. How many times has that happened immediately after a player sustains a season-ending injury?

"I'm obviously disappointed having worked so hard to get to where I was,'' the statement began. "This is a setback, but I'll be back.''

Ian Thomsen writes...

The shame of Greg Oden's latest season-ending injury is based mainly in what it means for Oden. Does it mean a long-suffering career of promising starts and painful stops? How much will he be able to accomplish in the NBA? How much joy can he create in between the pain?

This should not be one of those monumental we'll-never-make-the-playoffs kind of injuries for Portland. The young Blazers won 54 games last season without major contributions from Oden, so why shouldn't they be able to win without him again?

Kevin Pelton writes...

The biggest concern for the Blazers in the short term is depth. Channing Frye served as Przybilla's backup the last two seasons when Oden was out, but he is now in Phoenix and Portland does not have either a natural center or anyone taller than 6'9" on the bench. Veteran Juwan Howard stepped into the second unit on Saturday night, with Aldridge moving over to center. But Howard has struggled this season, losing his role as backup power forward to rookie Dante Cunningham after a brief stint into the rotation, so forcing him to play more minutes will hurt the Blazers. Rookie second-round pick Jeff Pendergraph could see some time as a backup center when he returns to the lineup, which might happen late this month after Pendergraph underwent hip surgery in September.

David Berri, Huffington Post Sports writes...

The good news is that Joel Przybilla - the player who started the majority of games at center last season - is once again available to start. And Przybilla can be very productive [0.288 WP48 last season, 0.182 WP48 this season]. But behind Przybilla, the Blazers are thin in the frontcourt. LaMarcus Aldridge [0.122 WP48] will probably get some minutes at center. And this means second-round pick Dante Cunningham [0.133 WP48] and Juwan Howard [-0.053 WP48] will get more minutes at power forward. When we consider the production of these players it's easy to conclude that Oden's injury hurts more than just him.

There's a saying in sports, though, that injuries are no excuse. Players, though, are not the same. Oden is already better than most players playing the game. And when that talent leaves, wins are simply going to be a bit harder to find. Yes, it is possible for other players to do more (like Przybilla, Roy, Andre Miller, etc...). But Oden is really, really good. So his loss probably can't help.

Sherman Alexie writes...

 So, I guess, if I could console Blazers fans, I would tell them their Oden-grief is valuable, that it is about hope and love, that it is about keeping memory -- their love for basketball -- alive.

Jason Friedman writes...

Yao spoke that day of the grief which accompanied his initial realization that he would miss the entire 2009-10 season. He mentioned the mourning process that included a week spent mostly in disturbed silence. But then he told of his resolution and commitment to the rehab process. The moment for looking back was over. It was now time for work, for diligence and for hope. His goal stood far off in the distance but he knew that each day brought him one step closer and, therefore, each day would be better than the last. 

I don't know Greg Oden. But upon recalling that conversation with Yao, I suspect I have at least an inkling of what's going through his mind right now.    

Dwight Jaynes writes...

I don't think it necessarily means this team can't get a playoff berth. In fact, when you look at the roster, the team isn't really all that much worse off than it was last season, when it won 54 games.

Yes, no Oden. But don't forget, he wasn't much of a part of the late-season surge the team made last season, anyway. He lost his starting job in the second half of the season to Joel Przybilla. Yes, Nic Batum isn't here - although he may be prior to the end of the season. But Martell Webster is here - and I still believe, if the coaching staff shows faith in him, gives him a chance to play through mistakes, he can do a decent job.

Coup from Rip City Project writes...

Oden's absence should also make it simpler for Kevin Pritchard to make a move. The concerns about disrupting team chemistry go out the window, because even even the Blazers make a nice little run playing well together, any chemistry they develop now will be interrupted with the return of Batum/Outlaw/Oden eventually. Blake and Outlaw's expiring contracts should be used, better to bring in a potential long-term guy than just to patch up holes. This is still the last chance to use whatever is left of the cap space. We've said all along that the success of the Miller signing hinges on whatever Pritchard does as a follow up. As trade talks start heating up we'll discuss available players, but most of the small forwards that could be had last February should be on the blocks again.

Sekou Smith writes...

This is a cosmic injustice of epic proportions. The sight of Oden writhing in pain on that floor ruined many weekends, in Portland and beyond.

We're being robbed of a big man talent that who was supposed to challenge Dwight Howard and Yao Ming for best young big man on the planet status in a few years. Instead, when Howard reaches his prime Oden will still be trying to come back from his latest injury.

The Blazers will survive this -- just as they did Sam Bowie's injury-plagued career. The games goes on no matter who you are.

Brian T. Smith writes...

Pritchard said the Blazers have faith in his resilience and heart, though. And the Portland GM said he still would not hesitate if given a second chance to go through the 2007 draft. The Blazers passed up on Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, who ranks third in the NBA in average scoring with 28.1 points.

"That was a difficult decision at the time," Pritchard said. "But Greg Oden is a Blazer. And we're going to back him as much as we possibly can, and help him as much as we possibly can."    

Kellex from Blaze of Love writes...

We won't know until sometime next year if Oden will fully recover.  And we won't know until at least a year after that if he'll be a championship level center.  We don't know if the owner that provides this team with financial freedom will still be with us.  And we don't know if Brandon Roy's quickly aging body will continue to produce at an All-Star level.  There are so many concerns to have now that Greg is done yet again.  The bright lights of the future have surely dimmed.  Is it time to move on?    

Matt Moore writes...

Greg Oden has had multiple injuries since being drafted by Kevin Pritchard and during the same time, Kevin Durant has evolved into one of the best players in the league. This is a coincidence. The two are not outlined in the stars. They're not bound by that draft. It was just a coincidence. And to consistently compare the two is madness, like comparing a barn fire in Jersey and a stock jump in California. Assess each within the context of themselves.

Rob Mahoney writes...

But happily-never-after declarations on Oden's career are as ridiculous and lazy as they sound. We're not even to the meat of Oden's narrative, so why would it make sense to write his career synopsis? I'm not saying that Greg Oden will be anyone but Greg Oden, but here's the thing: even after everything that's happened, even after this latest injury, that may be enough.

Charley Rosen atest-injury-will-derail-Oden-for-good" target="_blank">writes...

Oden's physical woes are reminiscent of the careers of Sam Bowie (who played in only 511 of 820 possible games), and Bill Walton (468 of 820). But, when healthy, Bowie was an outstanding high-post player, and Walton was one of the finest centers of his generation.

Oden is, and will be, neither.

Unless he can experience a miraculous - and long-lasting - healing, Oden's future is behind him.

Sheed from BustaBucket writes...

From bad to devastating has to be Greg Oden's broken kneecap. I've never been more emotionally connected to Blazer player before, and I've always rooted for Greg to succeed. This injury is so painful for me, I can't even imagine what it's like for the Blazers, and especially Greg. I hope he heals quickly and picks up where he left off.

Royce from Daily Thunder writes...

Yes, by all early returns, Durant is having a much better career. If Kevin Pritchard could go back knowing what he knows now, he likely would've have turned in KD's card instead of Oden's. But I don't see the pride and satisfaction in celebrating such a thing. We know Kevin Durant is absolutely awesome. We don't need more validation for that by having everyone acknowledge Pritchard should've selected him. And especially not at the expense of finding joy in Oden's hardships.

Knee Jerk NBA writes...

When the big man crumpled to the floor, the team instantly became a non-factor in this year's playoff race. Brandon Roy morphed back into a volume shooter. Andre Miller's playing time became a non-issue. The Sam Bowie label stuck. And Kevin Pritchard kicked himself again for not choosing Kevin Durant. 

Realistically, this could be the last we see of Oden. We're talking about a guy who previously destroyed his other knee getting off his couch.     

Stu Holdren writes...

What makes this injury even more tragic was the impressive development we've seen from Oden. Just a game ago, Oden grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds while pitching in 13 points and 4 blocks in a spirited effort against the Miami Heat. Oden was beginning to learn how to play with fouls, and was always a force on the defensive end. At 2.4 blocks per game, Oden ranks second in the league. While he is still far from a polished offensive force, we've seen an improved jump hook and frequent emphatic dunks. It feels like Oden was just coming into his own, but these constant injuries definitely lead one to wonder if Oden can ever have a productive career that isn't inhibited by health issues. Before Oden was carted off, he clapped his hands together just as we have come accustomed to him doing to amp himself up on the defensive end.    

John Canzano writes...

What they can't do is fold. 

Not with their owner fighting for his life and an assistant, too. Not with their coach jumping into drills and with Oden returning to the locker room to make a plea for his team to finish the game and get a win. Because what we have here is the intersection where sport meets life, and there's so much going on that we should be able to see it in the franchise's eyes. 

Finishing is all that matters anymore.    

Power Rankings

-- Ben Golliver | ( | Twitter