I hopped online and dug through a bunch of resources on this type of surgery-- facinating how they use a device like a little icepick. Also interesting that this used to be 'controversial', according to one source I checked on wikipedia.
I also just got off the phone with an amazing doctor-- Dave Northfield is interviewing her for tonite's 5pm news (as I will be home). It's been a long time since I've heard a doctor give such a great, easy-to-understand explainer about this kind of stuff.
She's not Oden's doctor but we chatted about the details in the Blazer's press release, and she knows all about the surgery so we were good to go.
The Blazer's said the damage is to Oden's articular cartilage in his right knee. That type of cartilage is the smooth coating on the ends of our bones. Think of it as the smooth end of a drumstick. The injury is sort of like a pothole on a road. And, she says, it's also tough to treat. Here's why. The microfracture surgery involves using an ice pick looking device to create small holes in the bone around the injury site. That stimulates new cartilage-- but, it stimulates a different type that more closely resembles scar tissue. That said-- the doctor told me the treatment is a perfect first-attempt to heal him. If it takes, great! If not, then there are other options-- bigger, more complicated surgeries that may or may not work. Look for Dave's interview at 5.
Here are some interesting links with more details on the procedure Greg Oden had:
Microfracture surgery NYT article-- GREAT explainer: