NEW YORK – Miami Heat’s Greg Oden was hobbled by a knee injury Wednesday, which pushed his long-delayed plans for a comeback just a little bit further into the future.
Oden was held back from practice due to knee swelling that resulted from a 5-on-5 scrimmage with LeBron James in New York on Monday.
Oden joined the Miami Heat in August. He was let go by the Trailblazers in 2012 and hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2009.
"I'm fine," Oden told ESPN after the Monday workout. "It's been three years, three-and-a-half years for me, so a little bit of swelling ... As long as there's no surgery, I'm OK. It's just taking its time. It's going to be a long season, and I'm going to get there. It's just one day."
The 7-foot center was Portland’s lucky catch when the Blazers landed him as the No. 1 NBA draft in 2007. The former Ohio State Buckeye had averaged 15.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.3 shot blocks per game.
High hopes crumbled quickly as Oden ran up against a string of knee problems and injuries.
In Sept of 2007, before his rookie year began, Oden underwent a microfracture surgery on his knee that benched him for the season. The following year he lost over a month of play time after knocking knees with LA Laker Corey Maggette.
In 2009, Oden put up good numbers, like the 24 points and 12 rebounds he made against the Chicago Bulls in November. But 21 games into the season, a fractured patella took him off the court.
After another two seasons on contract with Portland without playing a game, the Blazers finally let him go in 2012.
His hopes for a comeback began in earnest in August when he signed with Miami. The Heat has been deliberate in not putting out a timeline of when they expect him to play. Until then, his comeback will have to limp along.