Greg Oden signed with the Miami Heat and is attempting to become the first NBA player to return from three microfracture knee surgeries. At 25, the former No. 1 overall pick is still young, but his body is much older than his age indicates. He’s gone through more wear and tear than most athletes go through in their entire careers.
“I got an old body,” Oden told reporters over the weekend, via the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I’m going to put it like that. I understand. My body is not going to be when I was 18, able to run all day and jump over people. I can’t do that now. It’s just not going to happen. My knees, the wear and tear of the surgeries, I understand that.”
Since being drafted first overall by the Portland Trailblazers in 2007, Oden has only played in 82 career games. Though everyone still believes he is talented and worth the risk of signing — multiple teams tried getting him before he chose to sign with the Heat — the reality of his situation must be understood. Oden’s knees have gone through so much, he was advised by his latest doctor to just retire after undergoing surgery in February 2012.
“After that surgery in 2012, my last surgery, the doctor said, ‘Just be a regular person, go live life. Be a regular person. You would be perfectly fine walking out of this place and not have to worry about any rehab or anything.’”
Oden said he tried doing that for a few weeks, but he began watching NBA TV and the hunger and desire to play basketball came back to him. His love for the game would not allow him to retire.
It’s admirable that Oden is still trying to play despite everything he has gone through, but this is exactly why I’m not expecting anything from him. He has gone through so much and his body is broken down. I don’t think it will take long for his knees to give out again, which will lead to doctors advising him to retire. Unfortunately, I don’t see him giving the Heat much next season. But at least he does have heart.