Notebook: Oden discusses rehab; Gentry praises Roy
Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden said Thursday he expects to be able to participate in the Blazers’ 2010-11 training camp.
Oden, who is recovering from his second major surgery in three years, added that there is no timetable for his return, though.
But despite currently being limited to basic stretching exercises and weight lifting, the No. 1 overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft said his rehabilitation is on schedule.
“A good day is when I can walk and not have (any) swelling,” said Oden, following a morning shootaround at the team’s practice facility in Tualatin, Ore. “A bad day is when I have a little bit of swelling and I ice my knee. I’ve been using my bone stimulator a lot. Just doing little things to help.”
Oden suffered a season-ending injury Dec. 5 when he fractured his left patella during a game against Houston at the Rose Garden in Portland.
The former Ohio State standout said the Blazers recently gave him permission to take a break from basketball and “clear his head.”
During the period, Oden has spent time with his family in Indiana.
The 7-foot, 270-pound Oden returned to Portland this week for a medical evaluation. He planned to attend the Blazers’ contest Thursday night against Phoenix, which was Game 6 of a Western Conference first-round playoff series.
Oden acknowledged that it would have been hard for him to be around his teammates during the past month.
“I got to sit in front of the couch and watch the games and flip out without (anybody) seeing me,” Oden said.
He added: “It’s definitely (about) being in a comfort zone. Because it’s tough being here and not be able to actually connect with the guys, because I can’t be out there on the court or go out to the games with them.”
Oden plans to ramp up his rehab this summer while remaining in Indiana, working with sports physicians whom he developed a strong relationship with during high school and college.
“My agent and myself, we’re all looking at different things that I can do,” Oden, 22, said. “Because it’s about time for me to figure out what the heck’s going on with my body and get this all taken care of.”
Thursday marked Oden’s first official appearance with the Blazers since March 5, when he said he hoped to return for the playoffs.
“I was definitely trying to stay positive and look at the best of what happened to me,” Oden said. “But just being real, (I) wasn’t going to be ready for the playoffs.”
Oden started 21 games this season, averaging 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks while shooting 60.5 percent from the field. The second-year center was playing the best basketball of his career prior to his injury.
Blazers coach Nate McMillan said guard Brandon Roy had no swelling and was not experiencing any pain in his surgically repaired right knee prior to the start of Game 6.
But McMillan stated that he did have a plan in place if Roy initially struggled. The three-time All-Star scored just seven points on 2-of-7 shooting during Portland’s Game 5 road loss to Phoenix.
“I’m going to have to watch him and see how he goes,” McMillan said.
McMillan acknowledged that Roy’s conditioning and stamina were not ideal for a playoff series. But by inserting Roy into the starting lineup, McMillan was optimistic that Portland’s franchise player would have a better chance at approaching his star form.
“We feel we need his production,” McMillan said. “And getting him back in that lineup where he’s used to being, hopefully that helps.”
Suns coach Alvin Gentry said it was obvious that Roy was not near 100 percent while playing in Games 4-5.
Roy missed Games 1-3 while recovering from knee surgery. He made his playoff debut this season during Game 4, returning to the court just eight days after undergoing an operation to repair a torn meniscus.
Gentry said he held a great deal of respect for Roy, adding that many modern NBA players will not take the court unless they are “103 percent” healthy.
“He’s just trying to grind it out and get himself into a situation where he can make a couple of plays that are maybe the difference in the game,” Gentry said.
Asked if he could envision the Suns inserting a star player into the starting lineup during a playoff series shortly after the player underwent surgery, Gentry did not hesitate.
“If it was Steve (Nash), hell yeah,” Gentry said laughing.
Gentry acknowledged that Phoenix was still in a good position if the Blazers won Game 6 Thursday and forced a decisive Game 7.
The Suns hold home-court advantage in the series, and will play the final game of the series Saturday at US Airways Center in Phoenix, if necessary.
But while Gentry was willing to talk about leverage, he was less reluctant to discuss the possibility of Game 7 before Game 6 had tipped off.
“I’m not going to talk about a seventh game,” Gentry said. “There’s no reason to talk about a seventh game right now. We’re trying to play at a high level so the sixth game is the seventh game.”