Greg Oden -- My Plea On Behalf Of Medicine
Greg Oden likes to party.
Greg Oden has what it takes
Greg Oden has been a blogger, and a pretty funny one at that.
Greg Oden, back before he turned 70, was a pretty good basketball player, too.
And did I mention Greg Oden likes to party?
In short (won't see that word in an Oden sentence often), it's hard (hope not to ever see that one in a sentence with Oden) not to like Greg Oden. That's what makes the news yesterday that the Blazers center will have to undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee (his second leg on which he will have had the procedure) so infuriating?
Why Oden? Why such a good guy and majestic specimen? (oooohh, wow, REALLY don't want to see that word in a sentence with Oden again)
I won't try and refute everyone's comparisons between Greg Oden and Sam Bowie, I'll leave that to Mike DeCourcy of The Sporting News who spent a portion of this morning reminding us that basically when he was right physically (which since high school has been almost never) Oden was a tour de force, while when healthy (slightly more than Oden, but not much) Bowie was at best a quality collegiate big man turned NBA JAG (sports acronym for "just a guy," i.e. very pedestrian, ironic because being an actual pedestrian was something Bowie struggled with throughout his broken-leg-addled career).
At a 30,000-foot level, the comparison is grounded in some logic -- Portland passed on a future multi-time MVP to draft a big man with an injury history because...well, because he was big (a word that is difficult not to find in a sentence with Oden).
But we didn't give a shit about Bowie like we do with Oden. In Bowie's defense, cell phone cameras were not around back in 1984 to catch any Kentucky chicanery he was involved in, catch him doing the Electric Slide or whatever dance was in vogue then, or catch him firing off pictures of "The Bowie." Oden is endearing in that he's just a big kid. A really big kid. No seriously, he is a GARGANTUAN kid. (And we've got the pictures to prove it.)
At this point, with microfracture surgeries on both knees, the clock is ticking on Greg Oden, every inch of him. If he wants to keep playing basketball, he's going to have to do one of two things -- 1) hope for some sort of divine intervention or 2) take control of the situation, do something outside the box (wow, REALLY hope for the sake of the female gender that we...never mind).
In 1974, major league pitcher Tommy John was facing the end of his career due an injury to his ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow. The Dodgers team doctor at the time was Dr. Frank Jobe and he went with the radical approach of replacing John's UCL with a tendon from a donor/cadaver. After 18 months of rehabilitation, John came back to become a 20-game winner again, and dozens of other pitchers have benefited from this radical procedure and the trail blazed by John and Jobe.
Greg Oden is a Trail Blazer. Now it's time for him to be a trail blazer in the truest sense of the word.
Greg Oden, you are having a problem -- a potentially career-ending problem -- with your left knee. It's time to find the 2010 equivalent of Frank Jobe and rob from one part of your body to replenish another -- remove a portion of the third leg (also known as "The Oden") and replace your debilitated second leg.
We know that there's plenty of The Oden for not just this surgery, but at least four or five more future surgeries. Those future surgeries could be (could be? WILL be) yours or, in the spirit of Tommy John surgery which was often deployed using tendons from cadavers, they could be surgeries for future NBA players who are plying their trade long after your demise. And since you're 83 years old come January, we need to think of others.
Invent Greg Oden Surgery. Part of the third leg to save the second leg. If not you, then who, Greg? For the sake of future microfracture surgery candidates, make it happen.
Hell, if nothing else, I would imagine the massage portion of rehabbing both legs would be well worth it.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 The Game from 3-7 p.m. weekdays on the "Sean & John Show" on 1560 The Game and follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.