The new face of the Miami Heat paint, Greg Oden was questioned about his health after participating in a 5-0n-5 practice today.
“It felt good to be out there to get some up and down,” Oden said via Fox Sports Florida. “It’s little steps. Today was another step in getting out there and doing some 5-on-5.”
After taking nearly four years off of basketball to rehab his ailing knees, Oden is trying to make a monumental comeback in joining the two-time defending NBA champs in hopes that he can help them on their way to a third consecutive title.
Oden enjoyed an immense amount of success during his college days at Ohio State. With teammate and now Memphis Grizzlies star point guard Mike Conley Jr., he helped the Bucks all the way to the 2007 National Championship Game, only to fall to the Florida Gators. Oden, along with the likes of Kevin Durant, became the first freshman since 1990 to be named to AP All-American Team.
Selected No. 1 overall in the 2007 NBA draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, Oden didn’t even get the opportunity to play until the 2007-08 season due to his micro fracture knee surgery on his ailing right knee. Only playing in 82 total games and starting only 60, Oden’s career seemed to be short-lived.
“This past year with not being on the team and being able to go to games, I became more a fan of basketball again. It brought back the inner kid in me,” Oden said. “I went to a couple games, mostly Memphis [Grizzlies] games cause I was watching Mike Conley [Jr.].”
But after being released by the Trail Blazers last year, Oden has found a new short-term home with the Heat.
It’s yet to be seen if Oden can recreate the sort of efficiency that we saw in his college days, but he is no longer the main point of focus on this team of All-Stars. His return will be closely monitored, but his role on the team will reduced immensely. The majority of weight will be upon the shoulders of the “Big Three” in LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.
“I’m looking at it day-by-day,” Oden said. “When I go out there and get off the court and I feel good, the swelling’s down in my knee — That’s what I look at. I think everybody here in this organization (wants me) to keep the swelling down — That’s the main goal – Take it day-by-day, and get out there again for practice tomorrow.”