Blazers, Oden Start On Wrong Foot

Ryan HoganCorrespondent IOctober 29, 2008


Some guys are 5'6" tall, weigh 125 pounds soaked and wet, and wouldn’t get hurt in a plane crash.

Other guys are seven-feet tall, tip the scales at 285 pounds and tweak their ankle just two-and-half minutes into their NBA regular season debut.

Guess which category Greg Oden belongs too?

Results of a MRI, a CAT, and probably every other kind of imaging possible minus the Hubble Space Telescope, reveal Portland Trail Blazers’ Center, Greg Oden has a mid-lateral right foot sprain.

In other words, Oden will be out from two to four weeks, or between six and 14 games.

Fortunately, he won’t need surgery.

Oden suffered the injury while going for a rebound against the defending Western Conference Champions, the Los Angeles Lakers. Immediately following his awkward landing, every Blazer fan simultaneous slapped their forehead with the palm of their hand and screamed, “no!”

The big guy toughed it out for the rest of half, limping up and down the court, but stayed in the locker room for X-rays and never returned.

The Lakers won 96-76 and dominated the Blazers in the paint. Oden was supposed to be the Blazers’ big presence down low. Instead, he’s the big presence on the trainer table.

“He’s worked so hard to get himself back,” says Blazers coach Nate McMillan. “And you know, we’ve tried to do all we could to get him into the season, and here we are, the first game, and you know, it’s a tweaked ankle.”

Oden played only 12 minutes, grabbed five rebounds, committed two fouls, blocked one shot, went 0-for-4 from the field and 0-for-2 from the line.

You can ignore his lack of scoring.  Every Blazer had trouble scoring against the Lakers’ tenacious defense.  As a team, the Blazers shot only 34.5 percent from the field. 

Besides, the Blazers don’t need Oden to be their leading scorer.  The team needs his defense and rebounding. 

By the way, Oden did out rebound his counterpart.  Laker's center Andrew Bynum had only three boards in 28 minutes of playing time. 

Oden’s size, strength, and knack for hanging around the rim will eventually pay huge dividends for the Blazers.  However, Oden needs to get into game shape and he needs to get his timing back.  In order to do that, Oden must stay healthy. 

So far he hasn’t.

While some may want to call Greg Oden “Sam Bowie Junior” or “Ot-Oh-Den” or the team the Portland “Frail”-blazers, Oden’s string of injuries is incredibly disappointing. He’s a hard worker who has ingratiated himself to the city of Portland and to the NBA. At the very least, Oden deserves to be healthy.


Oden’s injury woes

  • His one-year college career restricted to 32 games by a wrist injury.
  • A rookie season postponed by microfracture surgery on his right knee.
  • Suffers mid-lateral right foot sprain in NBA Debut.