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Tag:Portland Trail Blazers
Posted on: March 8, 2012 6:46 pm
Edited on: March 8, 2012 7:04 pm
 

Blazers, Pacers talk Jamal Crawford trade

Jamal Crawford could be headed out of Portland just months after he arrived. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver  

Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reported Thursday that the Portland Trail Blazers were seeking a first round pick in a trade package for guard Jamal Crawford. Potential suitors included the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers. Add to that list the Indiana Pacers.

A league source with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com later Thursday that reported talks between the Blazers and Pacers are "legitimate" and have included a scenario that would send Crawford to Indiana for guard A.J. Price and a 2012 first round pick. Indiana has sufficient salary cap space to absorb Crawford's contract without matching salaries. 

The Pacers were first linked to interest in trading for Crawford by ESPN.com and reportedly had interest in Crawford's services back in December, before the Seattle native elected to sign with the Blazers after also considering the New York Knicks and Sacramento Kings. Crawford's name has surfaced in rumors since shortly after he became trade-eligible on March 1.

Indiana, the source said, is hesitant to part with a first round pick, given the quality and depth of this year's draft pool as well as Crawford's contract situation. Indeed, trading for Crawford and his $5 million salary amounts to a low-risk 2-month rental. 

Crawford's player option for 2012-2013 -- and the uncertainty that goes with it -- could be hurting his value during early trade talks. 

"The first team to give Portland a first round pick for Crawford will have him," the source predicted.

Crawford's Portland tenure hasn't worked out as expected. The Blazers are currently in the Northwest Division basement and Crawford has seen his role change and playing time vacillate due to Nicolas Batum's promotion to starting two guard and the ongoing struggles of point guard Raymond Felton

There are links between Indiana and Portland executives. Indiana's director of player personnel Kevin Pritchard previously served as GM for the Blazers, before being fired on the night of the 2010 NBA Draft. Pritchard's hand-picked director of college scouting, Chad Buchanan, is currently serving as Acting GM for the Blazers, after previous GM Rich Cho was fired in May 2011.

Crawford, 31, is averaging 14.3 points and 3.8 assists in 26.8 minutes per game for the Blazers this season.
Posted on: March 5, 2012 2:28 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2012 3:31 pm
 

Reports: Jamal Crawford draws trade interest

Jamal Crawford could be headed out of Portland just months after he arrived. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver  

The Portland Trail Blazers signed guard Jamal Crawford in December and, by NBA rules, he became trade eligible on March 1. Less than 72 hours later, the rumor mill was already swirling with talk that he could be headed out of town.

SI.com reports that Crawford is "available."
With the Blazers (18-18) underachieving and the 12-year veteran having struggled to fit in this season, sources say he's available. Crawford signed a two-year, $10 million deal on Dec. 15, but the second season is a player option and he plans to opt out this summer to retest the free agent market.

While it's not known whether the Clippers and Blazers have discussed a deal involving Crawford, a source close to him said they showed significant interest when he was a free agent but lacked the flexibility to get a deal done.
CSNNW.com reported that both the Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves are "very interested" in Crawford's services, while HoopsWorld.com added three other teamsto that list. 
The Los Angeles Clippers and Minnesota Timberwolves are pursuing him the strongest, but the Sacramento Kings, Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks have also expressed interest. 
Crawford signed with the Blazers because of regional ties, a solid financial offer (a 2-year, $10 million deal with a player option), a chance to make a playoff push and the opportunity to play the clearly defined reserve scoring role in the absence of Brandon Roy, who was waived using the amnesty clause due to knee injuries.

But Portland's season hasn't played out to those expectations. At 18-19 entering Monday night action, the Blazers currently stand as one of the NBA's biggest letdowns. As recently as January, they touted themselves as contenders for the Western Conference title but currently sit outside the West's playoff picture with a daunting 7-game road trip beginning later this week.

With fellow guards Raymond Felton and Wesley Matthews struggling and lineups juggling as a result, Crawford has seen his minutes and shots vacillate, and he's also been asked to step into the starting point guard position, a role that clearly doesn't suit his well-established skillset. Given how poorly Felton has played, Blazers coach Nate McMillan likely felt like he had no choice to make the move, but Portland has lost three straight with Crawford as a starter and the team now plans to move Felton back into the starting lineup on Monday, according to The Oregonian. It's as messy as it sounds for all involved.

It get worse for Crawford, in particular, because McMillan has also moved forward Nicolas Batum into the starting 2-guard role, meaning that Crawford must compete with Batum and previous starter Wesley Matthews for minutes and touches there or continue to take on point guard duties in the reserve unit. Promising second-year two guard Elliot Williams is showing flashes that he deserves regular minutes in the rotation, too. On Portland's roster, this qualifies as a glut. Crawford made a lot of sense for a veteran team pushing for playoff success. On a middling team spinning its wheels with decisions to make at his position, he's extraneous. 

Clearly, something has to give. One way to fix the situation is to move forward Gerald Wallace, returning Batum to his natural three and restoring minutes for Crawford. Another, obviously, would be to ship out Crawford, whose contract and production make him one of Portland's best trade assets. With Matthews on a long-term deal, Williams starting to emerge and Batum figuring to command big dollars this summer, selling early on Crawford makes more sense than letting him walk in three months for nothing.

The Blazers and Timberwolves have been regular trade partners over the years, and a trade centered around a swap of Crawford for guard Luke Ridnour makes almost too much sense. Minnesota has a surplus of ones and a need for a solid two; Portland has a surplus of twos and a desperate need for a solid one.

Ridnour, a point guard by nature, has played out of position off the ball as rookie sensation Ricky Rubio has taken the Timberwolves by storm. Ridnour, 31, is on the books through 2013-2014, long after he will be useful for the Timberwolves. As of Monday, he represents a minor upgrade over Felton in terms of PER (he's ranked No. 41 in the league, Felton is No. 50). Portland has been looking for 3-point shooting from the point guard position to complement franchise forward LaMarcus Aldridge, and while Ridnour is shooting just 32.3 percent from deep this season, he's a career 35.9 percent shooter. Felton, meanwhile, is shooting just 24.6 percent from deep and averaging a full turnover more per game than Ridnour, in similar minutes.

Ridnour is a known commodity for Blazers coach Nate McMillan from their shared time in Seattle and could represent a low-risk transition from what has been a tumultuous time between Felton and McMillan in Portland. Felton is also set to be a free agent this summer and, if he's not moved by the deadline, would seem to have a murky (at best) future in Portland. Ridnour, then, would serve as a low-cost, reliable placeholder.

For Minnesota, Crawford plugs in at the team's weakest position, bringing his scoring and shot-creating ability to a team that can use it as it tries to make its first playoff push in years. He wouldn't be asked to carry the load or handle the ball all that much and he would find more room to work thanks to Rubio and All-Star forward Kevin Love. Recently, he spoke highly of Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman and his offense to the Star-Tribune. Whether Crawford decides to test free agency this summer would seem to be of little concern to Minnesota, as they are simply looking for better roster balance and the flexibility created by shedding Ridnour's future dollars.

The questions here are whether Portland can locate a better point guard option than Ridnour via trade, whether someone will offer more for Crawford prior to the deadline and whether moving Wallace instead of Crawford would bring back a significantly better package. (Wallace also holds a player option for next season.) For Crawford, moving on to a place that can offer the consistency in playing time and responsibilities that he thought he was getting when he signed up in Portland makes all the sense in the world, whether that is Minnesota or somewhere else.

Both sides have tried to make it work and so far it hasn't. The long-term prospects don't look good for a turnaround, either. That rumors popped up immediately after Crawford became trade eligible says it all.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 7:19 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 7:30 pm
 

Reports: Blazers to sign C Joel Przybilla

Joel Przybilla is reportedly headed back to Portland. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver
 
It takes a brave man to play center for the Portland Trail Blazers, and no one ever accused Joel Przybilla of being weak-hearted.

Przybilla, an unrestricted free agent center, has reportedly agreed to sign a 1-year contract with the Blazers for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season, according to Yahoo Sports and The Oregonian.  The deal, which reportedly isn't expected to be official until this week, will reunite Przybilla with the team he spent 6.5 years with, prior to a 2011 trade deadline deal that sent him to the Charlotte Bobcats.

The news of the expected signing comes just days after the Blazers announced center Greg Oden underwent season-ending microfracture knee surgery.

Przybilla has not played during the lockout-shortened season, although his name had come up in rumors linking him to the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks

Known for clogging the middle on defense, and giving hard fouls, Przybilla was a locker room leader for the Blazers before being included in the deal that landed forward Gerald Wallace from Charlotte. Przybilla's playing time was limited during the 2010-2011 season, as he was working his way back from multiple knee surgeries. He will add depth behind starting center Marcus Camby and help fill out a frontcourt that includes All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Kurt Thomas and the seldom-used Craig Smith and Chris Johnson.

Camby is in the final year of his contract and could be a potential trade chip for the Blazers. Przybilla's presence could potentially make Camby more expendable. 

Portland currently has 15 players on its roster, meaning a player will need to be released or traded to make room for Przybilla's signing. Oden is a likely candidate, as Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan said this week that it was possible that he would be released following his latest surgery.

Chris Johnson and second-year guard Armon Johnson are both on minimum-salary contracts so they theoretically could be potential casualties as well. Chris Johnson is Portland's fifth big man and has not seen much time but he has shown flashes in his limited minutes, and he's well-regarded by management. Armon Johnson has played even less, spending most of the season on the inactive list and has appeared in just 1 game, playing five minutes, this year.

Przybilla, 32, is a fan favorite in Portland and has posted career averages of 4.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
Posted on: February 22, 2012 12:22 am
 

Report Card: Pop gets an A, his team gets an F

Posted by Royce Young

Popovich made a smart move, but his team didn't back him up much. (Getty Images)

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.


Gregg Popovich
The Spurs got destroyed by the Blazers, 137-97. So an A for Popovich? What? Nobody keeps the big picture in mind better than Coach Pop. Even though the Spurs were working on an 11-game win streak, Popovich decided to sit both Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, essentially conceding the game to the Blazers. The Spurs were coming off a game the night before and have another tough one Thursday against the Nuggets before the All-Star break. By sitting Parker and Duncan, Popovich was buying his guys some much-needed rest at the back end of their rodeo road trip.
Dwyane Wade
The Kings looked to be game for the Heat early on, but behind Wade's 30 points (on 11-16 shooting), 10 assists and four rebounds, the Heat were able to pull away late.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Spurs brought their b-team to the Rose Garden Tuesday, but the blowout sure was impressive regardless. In starting for Raymond Felton, Jamal Crawford was brilliant and Felton was actually solid off the bench. A night after getting it handed to them in Los Angeles, the Blazers bounced back and put it on the Spurs, a team that had won 11 straight.
Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavs rallied from 17 down to come back and beat the Pistons. Not the craziest feat in the world and yeah, it was the Pistons but I continue to be intrigued by this young team. Kyrie Irving led the spark that did it finishing with 25 and any time a growing, evolving team can put these type of wins in their pocket, it means a little more than just having another tally in the win column.
Isaiah Thomas
The rookie point guard finished with 24 points and hit four 3s in the third quarter. Problem was, he didn't score in the fourth. Still, a nice game in a losing effort to one of the league's three best teams.
Detroit Pistons  They blew a 17-point lead to the Cavs and were outscored 35-22 in the fourth quarter. They wasted really nice games from Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight. In other words, just another night for the Pistons.
San Antonio Spurs
Yep, Popovich gets an A, but his team gets an F. Just because he made a smart move sitting Duncan and Parker doesn't mean the rest of the team is allowed to completely take a dump on the game.

E FOR EFFORT
Roy Hibbert (30 points on 11-for-17 shooting, 13 rebounds and three blocks in a win over the Hornets)
Antawn Jamison (32 points, 11-for-22 shooting and 10 rebounds in a win over the Pistons)
Greg Monroe (19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in a loss to Cleveland)
Marc Gasol (15 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists in a win over Philadelphia)

Posted on: February 21, 2012 3:44 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 3:55 pm
 

Reports: Blazers bench Raymond Felton

Raymon Felton is being benched in Portland. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

The writing has been on the wall, and now the move has finally been made. 

The Oregonian reported on Tuesday that Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan has elected to bench point guard Raymond Felton and will replace him in the starting lineup with Jamal Crawford.

CSNNW.com confirmed the report, and caught Felton's less than enthusiastic response to his demotion.
“He (Nate McMillan) called me this morning and told me we got to have consistency from that position and that a 7-point quarter was unacceptable,” Felton told CSNNW.com. “I'm not just going to blame myself for that first quarter. We're a team. We win together, we lose together.”
Felton's starting job has been in question for some time. As noted last week, he has struggled both on and off the court. He's averaging a career-low 10.0 points per game, he's shooting a career-low 37.1 percent from the field, he's shooting a career-low 22.9 percent from beyond the arc, he's averaging 6.3 assists (the fewest since his rookie season) and, according to HoopData.com, his turnover rate is at a career-worst level.

Meanwhile, the Blazers are 5-7 in February and scored just seven points in the first quarter of a Monday night loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. This after a Thursday night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers in which Felton shot shot 0-for-7 and committed five turnovers, playing just 24 minutes as coach Nate McMillan opted to sit him during the final stretches of the game.

Following that game, Felton said he didn't feel that McMillan trusted him.  

Those comments, coupled with Tuesday's insinuation that he is being blamed for Portland's poor performance against the Lakers, are not going to play well for McMillan, who told reporters on Saturday that the disagreement between Felton and himself had been resolved. Portland's brass also won't take too wel to the public nature of the comments, as the organization has long advocated an in-house solution to resolving any grievances.

The biggest issue here is that Felton still doesn't seem to have come to terms with the reality of his poor play. He's been one of, if not the least, effective players in the NBA playing 30+ minutes per night. His player efficiency rating is currently that of an average back-up point guard, not a surefire starter. His minutes and role had to be reduced. There's simply no way around it until he demonstrates he can return to being a far more effective player.

Crawford, a score-first two guard by nature, is not a likely panacea, although he has run Portland's offense somewhat effectively this season and is capable of running a nice two-man with forward LaMarcus Aldridge. He's certainly not a long-term solution for a team with aspirations of playoff success.
 
It sounds like a broken record, but the All-Star break can't come soon enough for Felton and the Blazers. You can probably say the same thing about the upcoming trade season.
Posted on: February 21, 2012 1:51 am
Edited on: February 21, 2012 1:42 pm
 

The Greg Oden Era: Disappointment, but no regrets

Posted by Ben Golliver 

After a third microfracture surgery, Blazers center Greg Oden faces a future that is as uncertain as ever. (Getty Images)

PORTLAND, Ore. – There’s plenty of sadness and disappointment, but no self-pity, and, still, absolutely no admissions of regret.

Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden went into an operating room in Vail, CO., on Monday, hoping that his left knee, which had been operated on twice previously in the past 26 months, would need only an arthroscopic procedure to clean up some loose debris

Instead, he emerged from the anesthesia to significantly worse news: the surgeons had decided that the articular damage in Oden’s left knee was so significant that it required the dreaded microfracture procedure. Instead of the medical version of a speed bump, he was now looking at a totaled car. Instead of being able to hold out hope, however slight, for a longshot return to the court this season, his 2011-2012 season was officially over.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, the man who will forever be remembered as the player who went before Oklahoma City Thunder All-Star forward Kevin Durant, was back in a familiar place: at the very beginning of a long, arduous rehabilitation process. Oden woke up to the reality of a 12-month recovery timeline from microfracture surgery, a grueling rehabilitation that he had endured twice before, once after a 2007 surgery on his right knee and once after a Nov. 2010 surgery on this same left knee.

This time, though, he has no idea if he will be employed come July 2012, when his one-year contract runs out and he becomes an unrestricted free agent. For the first time since the Blazers selected him in 2007, Oden even faces the prospect of being released outright by a team that has remained endlessly loyal as he’s missed the equivalent of four of his first five seasons in the league. With three microfracture surgeries, a fractured left patella and a February arthroscopic procedure on his right knee now in his past, the chances that he is ever able to step foot on an NBA court have never been smaller.

Despite the five knee surgeries, Oden has banked more than $23 million despite playing just 82 total regular season games and he has outlasted the GM who drafted him, Kevin Pritchard, and the GM who followed Pritchard, Rich Cho. The Blazers have not appointed a full-time replacement for Cho, who was fired last May, but Chad Buchanan, the team’s Director of College Scouting, has been named Acting GM for this season.

Buchanan, then in his mid-30s, was present in the 2007 war room, when the 7-foot center out of Ohio State had just finished leading the Buckeyes to the NCAA title game and promised to help a team that had fortuitously jumped up the lottery ladder to earn the right to choose between him and Durant.

Buchanan, speaking at the team’s practice facility on Monday afternoon, told CBSSports.com that he remembered the phone call declaring the team’s intention to select Oden was being placed to NBA commissioner David Stern, thinking that the team’s braintrust was in the process of acquiring a title-delivering talent.

“I was very excited,” he said. “A chance to draft a player who could potentially get your franchise to your ultimate goal. Looking back on it, we were all excited. We had visions of Greg being a great player for us for years to come.”

As Oden has been sidelined, Durant’s star has soared faster and higher than even his biggest pre-draft proponents expected. Rookie of the Year, 3-time All-Star, 2-time scoring champion, MVP candidate, plus a trip to the 2011 Western Conference Finals and the promise of future postseason success.

But just like his predecessors and Blazers president Larry Miller before him, Buchanan said that he still stands by the team’s selection of Oden over Durant.

“Looking back on it, I would still draft Greg,” he said. “Hindsight, it’s easy to make an assumption [now]… You can’t predict the injuries that would come. Going back on it, I wouldn’t have changed anything in drafting Greg.”

Asked if the decision was unanimous among those in the room, Buchanan politely declined to reply.  

At the time, there wasn't much of a debate across the city: a vast majority supported selecting Oden. “Even Caveman Knows: Pick Oden,” read the headline of one letter to the editor that was published in the June 17, 2007, edition of The Oregonian. “Oden Possesses Championship Aura,” read another.

Blazers fans these days are an emotionally exhausted house divided. Many understand the logic and thought process that went into the pick. But many others responded to Buchanan’s “I would still draft Greg” quote on Monday night by calling for his job. Some can’t get past the Greg Oden and Sam Bowie comparisons. And others, even in notoriously polite Portland, have gone as far as to boo Oden when he is shown on the jumbotron at the Rose Garden.

“I know Greg as a person,” Buchanan said. “To hear people [boo him], it hurts a little bit. It hurts more for Greg… Greg is frustrated but this is stuff that is out of his control. It’s unfortunate that it’s happened but it has happened. No one wants to be out there playing more than Greg does.”

That desire to play has been consistent over the years, but it hasn’t been enough. The body simply hasn’t been able to withstand the rehabilitations. Somewhat amazingly, Oden is currently recovering from two knee surgeries and also was dealing with blood clots in his left ankle that, Buchanan said, delayed Monday’s surgery and could have ended Oden’s 2011-2012 season even if the microfracture surgery hadn’t been deemed necessary.

It’s been that way, one thing after another, for most of Oden’s nearly five years in Portland. For now, the Blazers say no further surgeries or procedures are expected prior to Oden becoming an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“Nothing planned,” Buchanan said, before catching himself and deciding it might be better to not shut that particular door. “Barring something coming up again.”

Oden’s introduction to the city of Portland was pure hysteria. Thousands of fans packed a downtown square, cheering so loudly and for so long that Oden felt compelled to bow to them. He was on national magazine covers, on billboards around the city, at annual awards shows and in major ad campaigns.

Months later, his rookie season would be lost to a microfracture sugery on his right knee. Diligent updates on his status were provided on a blog on the team’s website, and he made a full recovery, playing in 61 games the following year, 2008-2009, and 21 games in 2009-2010.

He was never the same player, exactly, but he showed flashes. Despite playing limited minutes, Oden averaged nearly a double-double in his third season, at age 22, and was among the league’s leaders in player efficiency, thanks to his 60.5 percent shooting and offensive rebounding ability. He averaged more than two blocks a game during that season, hinting at the franchise-changing talent that Buchanan and company had expected.

Then, on Dec. 5, 2009, Oden leapt to contest a shot during a home game against the Houston Rockets, only to have his left leg give way beneath him. Observers compared it to an explosion or an implosion, and Oden collapsed to the floor immediately in agony, as teammates, competitors and fans turned away from the scene and medical staff ran at a full sprint to his attention. After the game, an emotional Pritchard delivered the news while holding back tears: Oden would be lost for the rest of the season.

807 days later, Oden hasn’t played in an NBA game since.

Nearly a year into Oden’s rehabilitation from the fractured patella suffered on the play, the Blazers announced that he had experienced some discomfort after working out before a game against the Lakers in Los Angeles. At a solemn press conference with the city’s entire media corps present, Blazers trainer Jay Jensen described the Nov. 2010 day that an MRI revealed the need a microfracture surgery on Oden’s left knee.

"Dr. Roberts pulled up the picture of Greg's knee on the screen and Greg didn't know what he was looking at,” Jensen said. “But Dr. Roberts did and I knew what to look for too, and there was the defect in his articular surface of his left knee. We sat there and it was like we got kicked in the stomach. We all felt like we had just been told that somebody close to us had died. It felt that way. We didn't know what to say. We were shocked."

That surgery ended Oden’s 2010-2011 season before it started. Despite the lockout, Oden was not ready to participate in Portland’s 2011 training camp, and the team announced in December that he had suffered a “setback” that made a return to the court during the 2011-2012 “less likely.”

When doctors went in to operate on Oden’s left knee on Monday, they discovered two similar defects, according to Buchanan. They then made the decision to go ahead with a second microfracture surgery, an option that Oden had been aware was a possibility before he was put under with anesthesia.

“He's obviously disappointed,” Buchanan said of Oden. “But he's been through it before... His other microfracture procedures have healed fine and hopefully he can do it again.”

The doctors have not yet officially deemed this a career-ending surgery and Buchanan reminded reporters that Oden, who just turned 24 in January, is “still very young” for a basketball player. But, asked two separate times if, in a best case scenario, Oden could receive medical clearance to play basketball at some point in the future, Buchanan hesitated and eventually refused to answer affirmatively.

“[That’s] anybody’s guess,” Buchanan said at first.

“I couldn’t give you that answer today,” he added later. ”I would have to have a further in-depth conversation with the doctors.”

Asked if Oden still had the desire to return to the basketball court, Buchanan said: “That’s tough for me to say. Greg has shown a lot of perseverance to get where he’s at now. This is obviously another big hurdle for him.”

Oden’s future playing basketball isn’t the only thing in question.

Since the team’s Media Day in 2010, Oden has not faced questions from the local media and, unlike during his rookie season, there have been very minimal health updates. Oden has now undergone three surgeries, two of them season-ending, without taking questions. With just months remaining on Oden’s contract with the team, and with the very real possibility that Oden is released to create a roster spot or potentially traded before the end of the season, there are no indications Oden plans to break his silence any time soon.

“I understand people want to hear from him but he's in a tough spot having to go through what he's gone through,” Buchanan said. “He's an outgoing person but he's also a very private person, that's how he's chosen to deal with this.”

So what’s he been up to for the last two years? It’s not entirely clear, but Buchanan did shed some new light on Oden’s rehabilitation process.

“He's gone through various drills at practice, nothing live,” Buchanan said. “He's gone a little bit of changing ends of the floor, a little of light jumping, a lot of shooting. He's had some ups and downs from when he first came back from the lockout. He's had good days and bad days.”

Good days and bad days, sure, but was he ever actually close to getting back on the court?

“It's tough to say how close he was to coming back,” Buchanan acknowledged. “He still had some progress to make.”

Oden’s most recent rehabilitation, from the Nov. 2010 microfracture, was even more complicated than the previous rehabilitation following the patella fracture.

“On this one he had a little more swelling that he was dealing with [once he] increased activity,” Buchanan said. “Before, he had more pain. It was a little different circumstance for him [this time].”

The swelling was ultimately what led to the decision for doctors to decide to proceed with plans for the arthroscopic procedures on both knees.

“There were days when you watched him out here and it was encouraging and there were other days where you could tell that it was bothering him,” Buchanan said. “That's part of coming back from that procedure and when you've come back from a couple of those you're going to experience more of those ups and downs that he was experiencing this year.”

Only with Oden can the casual phrase “a couple of those” refer to microfracture surgeries. But that’s his incredibly sad reality.

Instead of competing for a title, the Blazers have yet to advance out of the first round of the playoffs during Oden’s tenure, and they currently sit outside the Western Conference playoff picture, looking up at Durant’s Thunder, co-owners of the league’s best record. Less than 24 hours before Oden’s most recent surgery, Durant scored a career-high 51 points; hours after the microfracture announcement, the Blazers were creamed by the Los Angeles Lakers, managing to score just 7 points in the first quarter.

This year’s loss of All-Star guard Brandon Roy, also to repeated knee surgeries, has a huge hand in the franchise’s swinging fortunes, but so too does the invisible and often forgotten Oden, given how much, emotionally, financially and strategically, the Blazers invested in him.

Despite nearly five years of dealing with a decision that changed the court of the franchise, Buchanan stressed that, now more than ever, the story is about Oden and not his franchise.

“Nobody in this league is feeling sorry for us and we're not going to feel sorry for our situation,” Buchanan said.

The game will go on immediately for the Blazers; another chapter in an endless rehabilitation, or retirement, are Oden’s only options now.

“[Basketball] is what Greg loves to do," Buchanan said finally, before leaving the practice facility to find rain coming down by the bucketful. "To have that taken away from him has been very difficult for him… At the end of the day, Greg is a human being who has been through a lot. You have to have some compassion for him.”

Posted on: February 20, 2012 7:16 pm
Edited on: February 21, 2012 8:55 am
 

Oden gets microfracture surgery, out for season

Greg Oden underwent a second microfracture surgery on his left knee. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

It's been just under five years since the Portland Trail Blazer made center Greg Oden the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft. On Monday, Oden underwent his fifth knee surgery during those five years, and it was worse than expected.

On Monday morning, the Blazers announced that Oden would undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in Vail, Colo. Instead, Oden underwent a second microfracture surgery on his left knee and his 2011-2012 season is officially over. He had previously been listed as "out indefinitely."

The procedure was performed by renowned surgeon Richard Steadman, who has operated on numerous professional athletes.
"Initially, Greg was undergoing a procedure similar to the one he had a couple of weeks ago to have debris cleared from his right knee," said Acting General Manager Chad Buchanan . "However, once the doctors were inside Greg's left knee, they unfortunately found articular surface damage and determined microfracture was necessary."

Oden, who will become an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season, was selected by the Trail Blazers with the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. In 82 career games (60 starts), Oden has averaged 9.4 points (57.7% FG), 7.3 rebounds and 1.43 blocks in 22.1 minutes per game.

"This is not the news we were hoping for Greg or the organization," said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller. "It's hard to put into words the heartbreak for everyone involved, but especially for Greg. He's a young man who has experienced a great number of physical challenges in his playing career and today is yet another significant setback for him. We have a lot of empathy for Greg and his family during this difficult time."
A microfracture surgery typically has a one-year rehabilitation timeline.

This procedure marks the third time Oden has had surgery his left knee. He had left knee surgery in Dec. 2009 after fracturing his patella and he had microfracture surgery in Nov. 2010 to address an injury suffered during his rehabilitation process. 

Prior to undergoing the arthroscopic procedure on his right knee earlier this month, Oden had microfracture surgery on that knee in Sept. 2007.

Oden, 24, has played in 82 career NBA games, averaging 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.


Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:31 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Greg Oden to undergo 5th knee surgery on Monday

Greg Oden will undergo yet another knee surgery. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

It's been just under five years since the Portland Trail Blazer made center Greg Oden the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. On Monday, Oden is set to undergo his fifth knee surgery during those five years.

The Blazers announced on Monday that Oden will undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in Vail, CO. Oden has not appeared in an NBA game since December 2007 and there is no timetable for his return.

Monday's surgery was expected. Back on Feb. 3, Oden underwent the same arthroscopic procedure on his right knee and Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan said at the time that doctors wanted to address his left knee as well.  

"He's still considered out indefinitely," Buchanan told CBSSports.com at the time. "Having this procedure on the right knee and the possibility of his left knee doesn't increase the likelihood of him playing soon."

This procedure and marks the third time Oden will have surgery on his left knee. He had left knee surgery in Dec. 2009 after fracturing his patella and he had microfracture surgery in Nov. 2010 to address an injury suffered during his rehabilitation process. 

Prior to undergoing the arthroscopic procedure on his right knee earlier this month, Oden had microfracture surgery on that knee in Sept. 2007.
 
In a statement posted on Facebook earlier this month, Oden said he would continue his rehabilitation.

"I'm sure you've all heard the news by now that I'm having a scope on my knee today," the statement read. "Unfortunately after months of intense rehab and training, the doctors discovered that a scope is necessary at this time. Thankfully this should be a quick recovery and I'll be back to training soon. I'm committed as ever to doing everything and anything to get back on the court and be a part of the team's success." 

Oden, 24, has played in 82 career NBA games, averaging 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

 
 
 
 
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