Greg Oden has taken another step toward making his NBA comeback.
A week after a lengthy interview with Mark Titus of Grantland detailing his journey from first overall pick to out of the league hoping for a comeback, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports that Oden underwent a non-evasive procedure in New York to accelerate the healing process in his left knee.
The procedure is the same one that Kobe Bryant underwent in Germany over the offseason.
Bryant underwent the procedure, known as Orthokine, in Germany last offseason to relieve pain in his right knee and left ankle and returned to have a historically productive year in this, his 16th NBA season. Under Bryant's advice, Yankees superstar Rodriguez flew to Dusseldorf to have the procedure done in December. Gilbert Arenas also had the procedure done.
The procedure involves doctors taking the patient's own blood, spinning it in a centrifuge, making a serum and then injecting it into the knee. Doctors claim the blood then works to stop inflammation and reduce pain and cartilage damage.
Bryant has said his knee felt better than it had in years, and the relief has allowed him to play big minutes this season. We weren’t able to fully see how it helped Arenas, who spent most of his postseason on the bench in Memphis, but he also has said he felt "10 times better." In an interview with Sam Amick of SI, he said,
I'm not going to lie, I feel so much better. I'm jumping and moving like before I got injured, like it's basically '06 again. My explosiveness, my jumping ability, my quickness -- it feels like I never got injured. I can see why he's out there doing what he's doing at his age.
With such positive reviews, it makes sense that Oden decided to give it a try. At this point, what does he have to lose?
"Greg had long planned to have this procedure done,'' one of the 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.''
While it’s still an experimental procedure, this is a great step for Oden. After three microfractures and surgery to repair a broken knee cap, to say that Oden has an uphill battle ahead of him would be a gross understatement. That he’s still trying to complete a comeback after so many devastating injuries shows his inner strength. Perhaps this latest decision will enable his body to heal and then finally stay healthy.