Interview: Oden stays happy, shoots for the playoffs

Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden spoke with the media following Friday’s practice at the team’s workout facility in Tualatin, Ore.

Oden on shooting:

I’ve been out here for a while. Just trying to stay away from you guys. (Laughs) But it feels good to get out here on the court and finally touch a basketball. Definitely excited for that. I wish I could jump and run. But little steps.

On where he goes now:

It all starts from here. Keeping my quad strong. Once my quad is strong and I can trust it, that’s the next step for me. Just being able to trust it, knowing that I can cut left to right and move like that.

On what the team’s doctors and trainers are telling him, and whether is ahead, behind or on schedule:

There’s no schedule. It’s ‘Your leg looks good, all you’ve got to do is strengthen it up now. Don’t kill yourself. We want you to get better and do all you can, but we don’t want you to rush yourself back and injure it some more.’

On whether he really thinks returning for the NBA playoffs is a possibility:

I would like to hope so. I do think so. But that’s me being anxious to get out there and play again. If it’s not, I’m not going to kill myself. I know next year is going to be right around the corner. But if I can definitely get close to playing, that means I can go into this summer with a good head. I’m ready.

On what it would mean to him to return to the team for the playoffs:

I would just love to come back and be a part of just being able to be around the guys and be on the court and bond with them, like the bond you get when you’re on the court with the guys. That would mean a lot to me.

On his current rehab compared to his previous one:

I never knew what to expect. I just knew what to do, and I’d come in here and do it. But now, I’ve been through it, so I know what I’ve got to do. I know how much effort and the mindset that it takes to get through it.

I’d say it’s easier. Somebody asked me, ‘Is it more mental than physical.’ I’m like, second time around, it’s more physical than anything.

On running on a treadmill:

It’s just a little jog on a treadmill. It’s with 70 percent of my weight. It’s one of those that lift up your weight, so it’s not as much pressure on my joints as if I was running out here.

On his hair:

This is the beginning stages of dreadlocks. They call them ‘brother dreads.’ No, ‘brother locks,’ my bad.

Four hours. But these ones, you can take out. They’ve got to do it one by one, but you can take them out.

On what he has been doing:

Shooting, moving weight. Doing what I can. When it feels good, you do something that feels good. They want me to do everything pain-free. So, whatever I can do pain-free, I’ll do it. There’s no telling what that’s going to be like next week. So, right now, I just do what I can right now.

On whether he still experiences pain:

Uh … it’s a little soreness. Still just a little swollen.

On why he is not sitting behind the bench during games:

Because I can’t sit behind the bench with my knee bent that long. We’ve got a lot of players, so I can’t sit on the floor. I can’t sit back there and have my knee bent that long.

On not being able to sit on the bench because of his knee, and still hoping to be ready for the playoffs:

Hey. You be realistic, I’m going to stay happy. All right?

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