The Gosselin kids aren't the only celebrities getting some bad news this year - Portland Trailblazers center and former number one pick Greg Oden is going to miss the rest of the 2010-11 National Basketball Association season and will undergo left knee microfracture surgery, according to announcements from the team. He already missed what would have been his rookie year in 2007-08 after undergoing a similar procedure on his other knee in September 2007 after being drafted first that June ahead of Kevin Durant among others. In between those two injuries, he also missed significant time after chipping a kneecap in a game in February of 2009. It seems as though this player who looks about 20 years older than his listed age might actually be that much older at least in his knees.
Another Blazers Draft Bust
Right after his first knee surgery forced him to miss the entire 2007-08 season, Greg Oden started to hear many Blazers fans and people around the NBA beginning to label him a draft bust. With Kevin Durant having a great rookie year and within a few short years becoming an MVP candidate and the leader of a U.S. men's basketball gold medal winning world championship team, the anger in Portland over another blown draft pick has resurfaced, if it ever really went away. As time goes by and Greg Oden continues piling up injuries, the comparisons to Sam Bowie are inevitable. Sam Bowie was a can't miss franchise center type player coming out of college, just like Greg Oden. He was hyped immensely in the days and weeks preceding the draft and ended up being picked first overall above another offensive scoring machine, just like Greg Oden. That particular player was some guy the Chicago Bulls took named Michael Jordan.
Early Signs of Stardom
In spite of the way things have turned out for him so far, in the early going of his career Greg Oden showed all the signs of basketball superstardom. He was Mr. Basketball in the state of Indiana in 2006 and signed to play college ball for Ohio State along with his good friend and high school teammate Mike Conley. He started the season missing time due to injury, but came back in time to be chosen first team All Big Ten, the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and All American. With him and Mike Conley leading the team, the Buckeyes made it all the way to the championship game of the NCAA tournament in 2007. They were defeated by Florida, but Greg Oden played a monster game, scoring big points in the paint, grabbing rebounds and blocking shots.
It was clear even from his half season in college that Greg Oden was the real deal. Talent wise he had all of the tools to be a franchise center and end up in the top five of all centers in the league by all accounts. What he lacked in delicate touch around the hoop he more than made up for in physical power. Yet his knees gave him nothing but trouble almost from the time he signed with Portland. From that contract Greg Oden got some measure of financial security; though it was nothing compared to some free agent deals at least he never has to worry about making a family auto insurance payment. The Blazers have already said they do not plan to offer him an extension when his rookie contract expires at the end of this year, which means that Greg Oden will be a man all of 23 years old at that point already discarded by an NBA franchise in spite of his gifts.