Despite five knee surgeries, former Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden may eventually play basketball again, according to Chris Haynes of who spoke to Oden's agent Mike Conley, Sr.


In his four-year NBA career, Oden is averaging 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. (Reuters/Danny Moloshok)

The number one overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft, the 24-year-old Oden has only played the equivalent of one full season in the four years he has been in the league. (The 2007 season wasn't his first because he missed all of it because of right knee microfracture surgery). Before his knees riddled his career, the seven-footer was thought to be the Blazers' centerpiece for years to come.

The injury bug may not only dispel any notion of Oden as a centerpiece anymore, but also any notion of him signing with the Blazers again, despite his unrestricted free agent status. However, Conley remained confident about his client. If Oden's rehab stays on course, he could be ready to play by early next year.

Everyone is quick to talk bust, but put themselves in his shoes, said Conley. He has gone through a lot as a young man and he is continuing to work to get back. For him to come back is going to be a remarkable perseverance on his behalf.

Even if Oden is successful in making a return, some teams around the league might be hesitant to risk singing an injury-prone Oden. Nevertheless, two teams rumored to be willing to take a shot-the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers-could benefit from the big man's services as long as he stays healthy.

While Oden may not be able to start, he could provide backup duty to Indiana's center Roy Hibbert and Miami's center Joel Anthony. This season, each team is in the top half of the league in paint points per game and blocks, but can be even better in those areas next season with a big body like Oden's occupying the middle. The Heat can especially use Oden to up its rebounding numbers since it only ranks 19th right now in that category.

There's also the chance that the Heat, the Pacers and the other 28 teams don't make a move on Oden, and he suddenly faces the decision of whether to retire at such a young age a la Brandon Roy.

For now, though, that decision is a ways away.

No he's not retiring, Conley said. The only way that would happen is if he was forced to and I don't see that happening. He's dedicated to making sure he's back on the court as soon as possible.