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Monday Practice Report

The two biggest pieces of news today: guard Patty Mills made the team and big man Jeff Pendergraph was officially waived. Fabricio Oberto was not in the house today (although his signing has gone official, keep reading).

Greg Oden Update

"It wasn't like I was full going," Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden said after practice today. "I was the weak link out there. But I was still out there."

Oden told a group of reporters that he went through "most" of Blazers practice, including light five-on-five work. "I was very excited," Oden said. "You know, the first time out there, just looking around, head on a swivel, everybody moving fast, but once I got down to it, started playing, I felt comfortable out there.

"It felt good. As I got down into it, and started doing more, I felt more comfortable. I was just taking it in, trying to concentrate on what I was doing out there. I wasn't really thinking about the excitement and all that, I was just like, 'Alright, what defense are we in? Am I doing the right things? Making the right calls?'"

Oden went through the practice wearing a black leg sleeve and said he was experiencing stiffness in his knee afterwards. "It's a little tight. It got a little stiff since practice. It's a little stiff right now so I gotta ice it." 

Asked if he was excited to be back doing five-on-five, Oden admitted that he was as nervous as he was excited. "I was worried. but it was fun. I got my blood moving and it felt good being out there. Coach basically told me, 'don't try to go full go, try go to 3/4 speed."

Oden's face went blank when a reporter asked him why he felt worried. "I don't know if you've ever gotten back [from an injury]," Oden said. "It was my first time actually playing five-on-five since the injury. Just being a little cautious about it. It takes a long time to trust it like you really want to."

Despite today's step forward, Oden is still preaching patience. "I'm definitely ready [mentally] to get out there but I'm not jumping too fast. I see you guys trying to hype it up a little bit more than me. I'm trying to make sure that I'm right when I get out there and improve what I'm doing." As such, Oden continued to refuse to put a timetable on his recovery, stating that his next step is "just improving from this. Continue to do my rehab stuff. Getting shots up. Doing a little bit of movement and stuff out on the court. Doing a little bit more and more with the team during the practice."

When will he be back? "It's whenever I feel like I can go out there and compete with the best."

Here's a brief video of his post-practice, non-contact work. He's walking through a few sets with Blazers rookies Armon Johnson, Elliot Williams and Luke Babbitt, along with assistant coach Buck Williams. Assistant coach Kaleb Canales is calling out the plays from the baseline.

Opening Night Lineup

The Blazers will start Andre Miller, Brandon Roy, Nicolas Batum, LaMarcus Aldridge and Marcus Camby tomorrow night against the Phoenix Suns. Wesley Matthews was deemed good to go by coach Nate McMillan for tomorrow as well. Matthews had been hampered by an Achilles injury.

UPDATE (5:32 PM):

The Fabricio Oberto signing has gone official. Here's the press release.


 PORTLAND, Ore. - The Portland Trail Blazers have signed center Fabricio Oberto, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"We are pleased to welcome Fabricio to Portland, and feel he can help us by providing depth in the frontcourt," said Cho. "He's a veteran center who has achieved success at both the NBA and international levels."

A native of Las Varillas, Argentina, Oberto (6-10, 245) played four seasons for the San Antonio Spurs (2005-09), winning an NBA Championship as the starting center in 2007, before spending last season with the Washington Wizards.

Oberto, 35, holds career NBA averages of 3.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 14.6 minutes in 331 games (128 starts).

A veteran of international play, Oberto was a member of the Argentine National Team that won the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, took home the bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and won the silver medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championships.

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter