It’s a shame that the Trail Blazers will have to continue the 2009-10 season without Greg Oden. GO’s injury falls pretty low on the list of injustices in the world, but that doesn’t make it any easier to stomach. Hard work should always be rewarded and respected, but sometimes it doesn’t play out that way. Life is often unfair.
Now Oden has even more work ahead of him. He’ll have to wait for his kneecap to heal and then start the arduous process of working his body back into playing shape, but is there any doubt that he’s up to the task? He’s done it before, and he sure as heck can do it again. And maybe he can do it even better this time after going through a similar process two years ago.
“Last summer was a great summer for (Oden),” said General Manager Kevin Pritchard. “He worked his tail off. He’s going to have to have that same kind of summer. Coach Bayno and our coaching staff have done a tremendous job. Now it’s about getting out there and playing again. Take it day to day, get him healthy, focus on that and then we’ll take care of the rest.”
And then there’s motivation. Basketball is what Greg Oden does. It does not define him, but it is a part of who he is. So in some respects, Oden returning to the court from this injury is a way of reclaiming a part of himself. Basketball was taken away from him after microfracture surgery and it was taken away again on Saturday night, but he can take it back. He can.
The Portland Trail Blazers will not give up on Greg Oden, not as a human being or a basketball player. He’s got a lot left. He knows it and the team knows it. Some people were ready to write off his career before the sun rose Sunday morning, but those people don’t know who Greg Oden is. Those who do do know he won’t be defined by this injury, but by his desire to fulfill what he is capable of.
“The last thing I have is given up hope that he can be a better player than what we just saw,” said Pritchard. “I think he knows that. Probably more than anything what we like is that he knows he’s got even more left. That’s more exciting than anything.”