Greg Oden: Knee Procedure Is Last-Ditch Effort to Revive Failed NBA Career

Matt ShetlerCorrespondent IMay 18, 2012

HOUSTON - APRIL 24:  Center Greg Oden #52 of the Portland Trail Blazers during play against the Houston Rockets in Game Three of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 24, 2009 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

It's been almost five years since the Portland Trail Blazers made Greg Oden the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA draft. 

Injuries have made Oden a bust in every sense of the word, but Oden is giving it one more shot in an attempt to revive what has been a failed NBA career to date.

ESPN's Chris Broussard reported that Oden recently underwent a knee procedure—his fifth knee surgery in five years—that will hopefully allow him to return to the NBA at full strength.

According to Broussard, the procedure on Oden's left knee, known as Orthokine, is the same procedure that Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez say took years of wear off their bodies.

"Greg had long planned to have this procedure done,'' one of Broussard's sources said. "He thought he'd wait until his knee was completely healed, but the doctor said Greg would get the greatest benefit by doing it now because it would help his recovery.''

For Oden's sake, hopefully it works out, as he's running out of time to keep his NBA career afloat.

The 7' Oden is not considering retirement, as there have been rumors lately that he's very interested in signing with the Miami Heat.

Oden is an unrestricted free agent, and if healthy, he could help one of a number of NBA teams. Currently, there's no timetable for his return, but he could be back in an NBA uniform by the middle of next season.

In four NBA seasons, Oden has played in a total of only 82 games, averaging just 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

While all of the injuries likely mean that Oden will never be the player that he was at Ohio State, he is long, and teams around the league can always use length. If anything, he should be able to help a team in need of rebounding and a shot-blocking presence.

But until he stays healthy, there will always be questions about Oden's health and how much he can offer to any team. Until he proves that he's a reliable option, it will be tough imagining Oden having a major role on any team, at least in the foreseeable future.

Until then, you can't help but admire the guy for not giving up.

Oden's tale is a sad one, as injuries all but crippled what could have been a productive NBA player.

The odds are against him, as there's just been too much damage to those knees. The wear and tear an NBA player's knees endure—especially someone as big and heavy as Oden—is great, and even though he may have a big heart, if Oden can't run and jump effectively, he's really not much of an option.

Maybe he turns himself into a role player who gives a team a few minutes a night, but becoming a star isn't very likely, which means either way, Oden will be looked at as a bust.

At the end of the day, this is likely Oden's very last shot to turn a failed NBA career into something positive. Let's hope he does, but that mountain may be too tall to climb.