If you were trying to bring along Greg Oden right now, you would be incredibly cautious. If not you’d be incredibly foolish.
General Manager Rich Cho and the rest of the Portland Trail Blazers brain trust are not foolish. They are not letting anyone talk to the public about where things stand. They are working hard to dampen expectations.
Which could also be taken as protecting him after setbacks. You can decide after reading what Cho told the Oregonian.
“I don’t really want to put any time frame on it,” Blazers general manager Rich Cho said, regarding Oden’s return. “I don’t want any expectations out there. And I don’t want to put any pressure on Greg. The last thing I want him to do is come back earlier (than he should) because people are expecting it.”
On Wednesday, Cho offered some details, saying Oden’s rehab had progressed to feature jogging, defensive slides, spot shooting, light jumping, jump-roping and work in the pool. He added that Oden, who had his latest medical checkup two weeks ago, has trimmed his weight down to the “low 280s,” approaching where the team would like him to play next season.
The Blazers are bringing him along slowly. As they should. They need to bring him along slowly and get him right before throwing him out to the wolves of NBA competition.
And not just right physically, but right mentally. Dave at Blazers Edge made a great point a couple days ago — after years of just rehabbing and not playing, the mental hurdles of playing a fearless game and finding a rhythm on the court may be more difficult than the physical struggles he will face.