For Greg Oden, it was day one of his official comeback.
Oden practiced for apparently the first time in four years as the Miami Heat opened their training camp today.
The injury-plagued 7-foot center, who was the first overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft by the Portland Trailblazers, signed a two-year deal with Miami in August. Oden, 25, hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since December 2009 when he severely injured his left knee. Over his career, he has undergone three microfracture surgeries.
The defending NBA champions are working out at the Atlantis Resort in Paradise Island, Bahamas, which sounds like anything but boot camp.
Said Oden about his first day on the job according to ESPN: “It felt good just being out there. First time in a while, I’m happy I got it completed. They had to pull me off the floor. But I’ve got to take steps.” He similarly told the Florida Sun-Sentinel that “It felt good. I did the first hour. A lot of non-contact, up-and-down stuff, but it felt good, just being out there, first time in a while, happy I got it completed.”
The team is being very careful with Oden and his knees, and the former Ohio State star has not yet been cleared for contact in scrimmages. There is no timetable for when he will take part in an actual game. Owing to his injuries, Oden has appeared in only 82 NBA games over his entire pro career so far.
Heat coach Erik Spoelstra called the Greg Oden comeback a “step by step, practice by practice, minute by minute” scenario. The team hopes that Oden can gradually get back in shape enough to give the team 15 minutes of playing time per game by the end of the regular season.
Also in training camp was Michael Beasley who is trying to make the team on a non-guaranteed contract. The Phoenix Suns released Beasley — who originally was a Heat first-round draft choice in 2008 — about a month ago.