If you haven’t heard yet, Portland is reeling with the news of Greg Oden‘s microfracture knee surgery that will most likely put him on the shelf for the entire ’07-08 season. We said in today’s Smack that this was a monumental day for the Blazers, and it ended up going about as horribly wrong as possible. It was said that their superstar rookie was only going in for exploratory surgery, but at some point doctors decided it was best for G.O. to get the full-on microfracture. To address the first question a lot of people will have, we don’t think Oden plays at all this year. There’s no reason to rush someone back during the same calendar year as such a procedure (just ask Amare), and especially when the Blazers aren’t going to be contending for a championship any time soon. Forget fan pressure and the natural desire to see your shiny new Christmas present ASAP — the Blazers have to be smart and patient enough to let Oden recover. Another question we’ve been asked: Does this mean Oden was a bad pick over Kevin Durant? Again, not necessarily. Remember, Kenyon Martin missed his entire rookie season with an injury, and he still developed into an elite power forward in the League before his latest wave of (unrelated) injuries. Oden can sit out this year, and even if Durant goes for for 20 a night, still come back in ’08-09 and grow into a dominant center. As we’ve learned from Amare, Zach Randolph and Jason Kidd, microfracture is not a death sentence for one’s career. Today the fan base in Portland (and the players, and the front office) is understandably shaken. But since this team wasn’t operating under a win-now atmosphere, it’s not the worst thing that could have happened when you look at it in the long-term. For now, though, it looks like one of the NBA’s snake-bitten franchises just got another nasty one.
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