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Transcript: Larry Miller, Nate McMillan, Rich Cho Discuss Greg Oden Microfracture Surgery Decision




Here are transcripts of comments made by Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller, coach Nate McMillan and general manager Rich Cho during a Wednesday night press conference at the Rose Garden.


A few notes...

  • You'll notice how forcefully and how quickly both Miller and McMillan back the medical and training staff. In person, it felt like a preemptive strike against critics. The questions that followed over the course of the night were not particularly critical of the training staff, so the strong statements backing the medical staff came off as a bit defensive. 
  • The overall feel from this year's press conference compared to last year's press conference after Oden went down against the Rockets could not have been more different. Last year, Kevin Pritchard was very focused on Greg Oden bouncing back as a Blazer. This year, it felt a lot like a true beginning of the end. No promises were made to either Oden or to Oden's fans in Portland regarding his future as a Portland Trail Blazer past this season. That was no accident.

Blazers President Larry Miller (via conference call from New York)

"Unfortunately I can't be there, I'm in New York for some NBA meetings as Jim mentioned. I just want to make a brief statement before we get into a Q and A.

"Today is a very challenging day for our franchise. As we announced earlier, Greg Oden is going to undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee on Friday in Colorado and will miss the remainder of the season. First of all, on behalf of Mr. Allen, our entire organization, myself personally, our thoughts and prayers are with Greg and his family. They will continue to have our full suport as Greg faces yet another challenge. 

"I would like to say something about our franchise. When I mention the franchise, I'm not just talking about the team on the court, the team off the court as well. I'm talking about our coaches, our executives and staff, and particularly our medical staff. From the first day I came to this organization I've seen first-hand the tireless dedication that these people have and that their sole focus is on the health and success of our athletes. We have, without a doubt, one of the most respected training and medical staffs in professional sports. And I personally extremely fortunate that this is the staff that we've had for the past three seasons, managing the many challenges that we've faced over that time period. 

"Also, I just want to say that we have the best fans in the NBA. That support is going to be felt and definitely needed by Greg and the entire team. I've got no doubt at all that our team will respond to this challenge the same way we have responded in the past and that we'll be competing night in and night out as we have in the past, like I've mentioned. And now I'd like to turn it over to Nate who has had some recent conversations with Greg and is going to talk about that."

Nate McMillan

"I did speak with Greg and I spoke with him briefly again today. And, as you can expect, a young man that's devastated about not having the opportunity to play this season. Being so close to getting back to the floor, just all of a sudden this situation comes up and it's like, 'here we go again' for him. Just really sad to hear that shocking news to hear that he had this situation and, as I mentioned, he's devastated.

"As I've talked to him, it is a challenge. We all our faced with different challenges throughout our lives. He's just, unfortunately, had some situations over the last few years that haven't been good. As I told him, he has to stay positive, he has to keep believing, he'll have an opportunity to continue to work to get back on the floor. But the main thing is, he has to stay positive. As far as my team and the players, we all are wondering what is going on. We're trying to find a reason for some of these things that are happening. Injuries are a part of the game. I've said it. It happens.

"As I've told Greg he has to deal with it. We've seen some of these injuries right in front of our own eyes. Some things you just can't explain. But Greg has been working hard all summer long, trying to get himself back, he was on schedule to come back here pretty soon and ... unfortunate situation.

"We often look for why things are happening and I want to say something about doctors and Jay. I've been with two trainers in my career, not only as a coach but as an athlete. These people are special people. The team, they are their families. I don't know of anybody that the players spend more time with than this guy here beside me. We've seen some things and heard some things, and when things go wrong, people want to, we as society, we all want to find someone to point the finger at or blame. And sometimes things just happen.

"These injuries, each one of them, they've just happened. With all the things that have happened to the organization in the last year or so, last year we were not the team in the NBA that lost players to the most games played. Golden State Warriors had more injuries than we did, believe it or not. Things happen. I can tell you that this medical staff, our doctors, they work in the best interests of not only our players but the entire organization. 


"I will address the team tomorrow. Again, as they mentioned, a lot of this information, we're just getting because the decision to go into surgery was just made and they wanted to make sure this is exactly what they wanted to do. I will talk to the team about Greg being out, but for us, it's a part of the game. We were unfortunate to experience this last year, but the guys pulled together.

"It will be an opportunity for someone else to step in and we're looking forward to Joel [Przybilla] returning here soon. We're disappointed. We're hurt for him and for ourselves. For me, not only for Greg, the team, the organization and the fans. The potential this kid has, the expectations that everyone, including myself, had for him. Excited to see him on the floor, got a taste for that last year, was starting to see that and then the injury occurred. He still has an opportunity to fight through this.

"As far as the team, we have to pull together. We have to pull together, stay together, we have a game tomorrow. Even though all of this is happening, there's a game to be played and games will continue to come. So we have to get ourselves ready. The guys who are in uniform have to perform."

Rich Cho

"Greg is still a part of the team. He is going to be a restricted free agent this summer. I expect him to be a part of the team. He will be restricted, he will be able to look at other teams. As Jay mentioned, his right knee came out strong. If you ask Greg, his knee that he had microfracture surgery on is stronger than it was before he had microfracture surgery on it. So we expect him to still come back.

"Well, I expect him to work hard in his rehab. Since I've been here, I saw him work out in Indianapolis. He worked extremely hard when he came back here. When he came back here, he really worked hard. As Jay said, he's focused, he wants to be a very good player. So I expect him to rehab hard."

-- Ben Golliver | | Twitter