Greg Oden is back with the Miami Heat because he is ignoring his doctor’s advice.
After his latest knee surgery, his doctor advised him to give up basketball, Oden said as reported by Ira Winderman at the Sun-Sentinel.
“After that surgery in 2012, my last surgery, the doctor said, ‘Just be a regular person, go live life. Be a regular person. You would be perfectly fine walking out of this place and not have to worry about any rehab or anything,’ ” Oden related during a news conference and conference call at St. Vincent Sports Performance in Indianapolis, where he endured the most grueling portions of his rehab work. “And I did, and then two weeks later, I was stuck onNBA TV. That’s just what I watch every day. I turn on TV and I’m watching NBA TV. I just wanted to play basketball. That’s my love; that’s what I wanted to do.”
Oden has reportedly looked good in workouts, his body is lean and he is moving well again. But that is very different than playing in an NBA game. Part of the reason he chose Miami is the lack of pressure to return quickly — the Heat don’t need him to win a lot of regular season games. They have that LeBron James guy for that, and I hear he is pretty good.
Oden and the Heat are willing to be patient.
“I know it’s going to be a long process,” he said. “Just getting back on the court, when I step on the court, if I play five minutes, and I step off the court and I’m healthy, and I’m able to play the next game, that’s what I’m worried about. For me, that would be the biggest smile on my face, being able to play in games.”
What matters to Miami is how this gamble pays off in April and May, when they will need size to combat Chicago and Indiana in the playoffs. Count me among the many people around the league hoping Oden bounces back and can play this season, gaining some measure of redemption for a career lost when his body betrayed him.
If Oden is playing in those postseason game, he should send that doctor a pair of tickets to come watch him play.