As teams prepare to usher in training camps with the NBA lockout nearing its end, one player the Portland Trail Blazers and their fans will be looking to is Greg Oden.
I don’t need to rehash his situation. By now you all know what’s been going on with the health of his knee and inability to stay on the court for a full season with Portland.
And though his agent, Mike Conley, says his client is back and ready to go, comes this tidbit from Conley himself (via oregonlive.com):
The restricted free agent center has not been cleared to participate in scrimmages or any basketball-related activities that include contact, according to his agent, Mike Conley. He has been cleared to run, ride a bike and participate in non-contact basketball drills — shooting, dribbling, etc. — but there remains no time line for a possible return.
So he can’t scrimmage, nor is he cleared to do any basketball-related activities. That shouldn’t instill confidence in Portland’s front office and coaching staff.
Granted, Conley did state Oden is holding steady.
“There have not been any setbacks,” Conley said Saturday of Oden’s health. “That’s the best way to word it. Doctors really did not give him a hard time line (for a return) … but he’s working hard and trying his best to get back.”
All this just adds up to the question: Do the Trail Blazers still want to invest in a player who just hasn’t panned out?
The team did offer their restricted free-agent an $8.8 million qualifying offer before the lockout but again, does this sound like a player who is ready to go this season health-wise? It’s been four years since Oden went number one overall in the 2007 NBA Draft and yet here Portland is, still waiting. Hoping Oden can turn out to be the player everyone thought he can be.
Sure, who is to say he is that player and how he just needs to get healthy. But that’s the trick. Will he ever be healthy enough to withstand an entire NBA season, play to his best and remain injury free?
What is past is prologue for Portland, and that $8.8 million can go to another player in free-agency.
And although Conley feels his client will remain in Portland (because what other team would dish out that kind of money for a fragile player), the team should just cut its losses. How much longer can they wait?