Posted by Neil Paine on November 18, 2010
This is just extremely depressing news for Portland fans (and fans of gifted big men in general):
"Trail Blazers center Greg Oden, the former No. 1 draft pick whose short career has been marred by injuries, will have microfracture surgery on his left knee and will not play this season.
Oden hasn't played since last December because he needed surgery to repair a fractured left patella. The Blazers say this operation, announced Wednesday night and scheduled for Friday in Vail, Colo., will repair damaged cartilage and is unrelated to the patella injury.
Oden, the first name announced in the 2007 NBA draft, missed his rookie season because of microfracture surgery on his right knee. The procedure stimulates cartilage growth.
Blazers trainer Jay Jensen said the latest problem with Oden's left knee became apparent about two weeks ago when he experienced some pain and fluid in the joint. Soon thereafter, an MRI revealed the damage.
'We sat there and it was like we'd been kicked in the stomach,' Jensen said, choking up. "It felt like hearing someone close to us had died.'"
Criticize the Blazers all you want for picking him over Kevin Durant in that '07 Draft, but the fact remains that Oden is a talent. When he managed to find the floor in between the injuries and foul trouble, he has actually been a pretty productive NBA player -- in fact, Oden's career rate of Win Shares per 48 minutes (0.180) is actually higher than Durant's (0.140).
Even so, the Curse of Sam Bowie (or is it Bill Walton?) lives on in the City of Roses. Here are the fewest NBA games played by a #1 overall pick in the first four seasons after they were drafted (omitting David Robinson, who had to serve in the Navy before debuting):