Hm, maybe this puts the lie to the man being only 19 or 20. This is old man ish right here. Damn arthritis!
Multiple reports are filing in that the #1 draft pick, one Greg Oden, is showing his age in ways even we couldn’t joke about through Blogfrica. Oden won’t be showing his stuff this NBA season, as he’s just gone through micro-fracture surgery on his knee (and yes, if you were thinking “isn’t that the same surgery Amare Stoudemire had?”, then your instincts are correct):
An exploratory arthroscopic surgery performed on Greg Oden today revealed cartilage damage to the Portland Trail Blazers rookie¹s right knee. Oden is likely to miss the 2007-08 NBA season.
“Greg had an arthroscopy and a micro fracture surgery today,” said team physician Dr. Don Roberts, who preformed the surgery. “He was found to have articular cartilage damage in his right knee. The area of injury was not large and we were able to treat it with micro fracture, which stimulates the growth of cartilage. There are things about this that are positive for Greg.
First of all he is young. The area where the damage was is small and the rest of his knee looked normal. All those are good signs for a complete recovery from micro fracture surgery.”
Draft Kevin Durant is already all over it, and I suspect Bill Simmons will have an “I told you so” ready rather soon. Yeah, you get an injury-prone big man, this isn’t out of the question. However, this is devastating beyond the loss of a #1 overall pick expected to make an impact, so much so that Portland traded away Zach Randolph to the Knicks. At least when Stoudemire had the surgery, he had a year or two under his belt, worked to come back, and became a better player. The problem with Oden is that he’s still an unpolished offensive talent — he hasn’t fully developed that offensive game to go with his defense, and there’s no telling if this will cost him speed, some athletic ability, or what have you.
What I can assert is that it is going to hurt for Portland fans to watch Durant screaming down the lanes in Key Arena next year, and possibly thinking about the specter of great expectations. And it will make even more teams wary about the drafting of big men at high levels in the draft — there was enough of this talk before the draft, with much of the league moving to a more up-tempo focus; dependent more on quick guards, forwards, and a 6’10-6″11 guy in the middle who can run and rebound; now you get even more fuel for the theory that the big man as franchise may become less and less of a risk teams are willing to take.
For now, let the Sam Bowie hand-wringing commence.