Blazers' #1 Pick, Greg Oden, To Miss Season After Microfracture Surgery
Greg Oden's tonsils aren't going to force him to miss any practice or game time the rest of the season... good news right?
Wrong... Oden underwent microfracture surgery to help alleviate the soreness in his knee; a surgery that will force him to miss his entire rookie season w/ the Portland Trailblazers.
The top pick in the June draft went in for an exploratory procedure on his right knee and ended up having microfracture surgery, which means he will sit out the season.
"Greg looked at me as he was coming out of his surgery, and he and his mom, Zoe, probably said 'sorry' 20 times," Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard said.
While Greg Oden does have several things in his favor - youth and recovery time - this type of surgery is still somewhat risky and could have long term effects.
Several players have made a successful return to the NBA after microfracture surgery, including the Suns' Amare Stoudemire, the Nets' Jason Kidd and a small group of others. On the other side of the fence, many players have never been the same after having the surgery. That list includes 90's superstars Chris Webber and Penny Hardaway.
While Oden's development was already hampered this summer from his tonsil issue, this latest setback is a devastating blow to the Trailblazers, who were hoping to compete for a playoff spot this year. They already traded away Zach Randolph (to the Knicks) and bought out Steve Francis, so they're really going to struggle the entire season unless they make another trade.
Blazer nation is no doubt crying over the situation... after looking forward to a much improved season, they're left to wait another year.
"We picked the right kid, he cares about his organization. And I can't (overemphasize) how bad he felt, and not because he had to go through the rehab and all that, but because he felt like he let us down," Pritchard said, "and he hasn't let us down at all."
"I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want to seem like I was complaining or making excuses for anything. Plus, I wasn't doing anything at the time I realized it hurt, so I figured it couldn't be anything big," Oden said.
While it's hard to fault Oden for missing his rookie year, it's hard to believe that he didn't know about this before the draft. Several scouting reports pointed out health & physical issues before the draft, so part of the blame has to fall on Portland's coaching staff. Should they have drafted Oden still? Probably, but trading away their other pieces was likely a premature move.