Unfortunately, The Onion's satire
last week about the fragility of Portland Trail Blazers
center Greg Oden
proved truer than anybody could have feared. The Blazers announced tonight that the oft-injured Oden will undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee Friday and will miss the rest of this season.
The team said a "recent MRI showed damaged cartilage to the surface of his femur" and that this latest injury to the 22-year-old Oden is unrelated to his previously fractured left patella from a game last December.
Coach Nate McMillan said at a press conference tonight that Oden was "devastated" by the latest setback and that "some things you just can't explain." McMillan and general manager Rich Cho both defended the team's training staff before reporters asked questions.
Trainer Jay Jensen, who was emotional during the news conference, said he was optimistic Oden could rehabilitate from this injury, based on his earlier work recovering from microfracture surgery on his right knee.
"I believe in Greg Oden," Jensen said. "This kid works hard ... I've seen the way he works.
"His basketball injuries in no way reflect on him as a person," Jensen said. "He understands he has challenges in front of him."
"He still has an opportunity to fight through this," McMillan said of Oden.
(Photo above from a previous press conference. Oden did not attend the press conference tonight. Full disclosure: neither did I: I listened to it on 95.5 The Game.)
Here's the depressing news release from the team:
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden will undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee Friday and will miss the remainder of the 2010-11 season, the Trail Blazers announced this evening.
Dr. Richard Steadman will perform the surgery with assistance from Trail Blazers orthopedic surgeon Dr. Don Roberts at the Steadman Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo.
Oden, 22, has been sidelined since fracturing his left patella in a Dec. 5, 2009, game vs. Houston. A recent MRI showed damaged cartilage to the surface of his femur, and his current injury is unrelated to the fractured left patella.
Oden previously underwent microfracture surgery on his right knee Sept. 13, 2007.
He holds career NBA averages of 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds, 0.6 assists and 1.43 blocked shots in 82 games over parts of two seasons from 2008-09.
I was reminded Thursday morning of this video from happier times.