Greg Oden, last year's No. 1 draft pick, practiced with the Portland Trail Blazers yesterday for the first time since he underwent microfracture knee surgery before the season.
This is great news for Portland, a team that has already improved greatly over last season, even without the services of last season's best college player.
While there are still health-related concerns surrounding Oden, yesterday's workout had to be encouraging for the Blazers. He ran up and down the court, he dunked, he shot, he rebounded, and most importantly, he looked good.
Brandon Roy, for one, was impressed. After practice, he rushed out to call his father and tell him how good Oden looked. And there's no doubt that the rest of the team and the front office are similarly giddy with the thought of Oden playing center alongside the up-and-coming Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge.
Big things could be on the horizon for the young Blazers, even without Oden in the middle. But if he comes back healthy and strong, Portland could realistically be thinking championship sometime in the next two or three seasons.
Of course, the Blazers and their fans know enough not to get ahead of themselves. A big man's knees are always going to be a worry, especially for the team that infamously selected Sam Bowie over Michael Jordan.