http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=AuRI_QB8vamj.TaBbv0jOrE5nYcB?slug=mc-oden_injury_return_sam_bowie_blazers040111Greg Oden knows that he can’t dodge the Sam Bowie comparisons. Sitting at his home, the often-injured center acknowledged that before watching his Portland Trail Blazers play the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday evening.
“Some people may think it’s best for me being out of [Portland], getting out of that mode of being injured or Sam Bowie talk,” Oden said. “Some people are probably saying, ‘You owe the Blazers for four years.’
“I don’t know. For me, I just want to get out there and play. … I just want to get on the court and compete because that’s something I’ve been missing the past two years.”
Big things were expected from Oden when the Blazers selected him as the first overall pick in the 2007 draft over Kevin Durant(notes). Injuries have derailed his promise, but Oden is just 23 years old, enough time to turn things around and distance himself from Bowie, the Trail Blazer best known as the man picked before Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA draft.
Oden hasn’t played since December of 2009, when he needed surgery to repair a fractured left patella. He was averaging 11.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks at the time of the injury. That setback came off the heels of a lost rookie season (right knee micro-fracture surgery) and a ’08-’09 season where he missed 21 games (foot, kneecap injuries).
He says his current rehab, from November’s micro-fracture surgery on his left knee, includes weightless squats, leg strength and balancing exercises, and cardio. The 7-footer, who has played in only 82 games in his career, hopes to get back on the floor to do light shooting without movement sometime later this month. He is “aiming” for a complete return by November.