Are Oden's injuries flukes or trends?

November, 18, 2010
11/18/10
12:16
PM ET
Harper By Zach Harper
ESPN.com
Archive
A lot of Greg Oden’s injuries over the years have appeared to be somewhat of a fluke and more of a string of bad luck than the big man just being hampered by the same old stuff.

Let’s take a quick glance at his injury history since he entered the league:

Nov. 17, 2010 - Revealed microfracture surgery needed on left knee

Dec. 6, 2009 - Has surgery to repair left knee

Dec. 5, 2009 - Fractures left patella against HOU

Feb. 12, 2009 - Suffers bone chip in left knee in collision against GS

Oct. 28, 2008 - Suffers right foot sprain in 1st NBA game vs. LAL

Sept. 13, 2007 - Has microfracture surgery on his right knee

July 14, 2007 - Has a tonsillectomy

June 16, 2006 - Has surgery to repair a torn ligament in right wrist

Since being selected with the first pick in the 2007 draft, Greg Oden has played in fewer games than all but four of the first round picks in that draft class. Only Morris Almond, Alando Tucker, Tiago Splitter and Petteri Koponen have seen fewer games on the floor than Oden. Even Brandan Wright has played in three more games than Oden and eight of the second round picks have surpassed his career total of 82 games played.

But are the injuries part of a pattern of nagging body parts or just horrible, horrible, horrible, horrible luck? Let’s take a brief look at each one individually:

June 16, 2006 – Torn ligament in his right wrist
Oden tore a ligament late in his senior year high school season. Most of the time, wrist injuries are pretty flukey. Just ask Andrew Bogut. I once fractured my forearm by trying to step over a chain that was blocking off a section of a parking lot. My foot got caught on the chain, and I tripped and fell to the ground.

July 14, 2007 – Tonsillectomy
This doesn’t really seem like it would have much of an impact on his player career. In fact, it didn’t.

September 13, 2007 – Microfracture surgery on his right knee
This was the first big blow. If you believe the Portland training staff, there was no problem with his knee when they drafted him. And there really wasn’t any one specific thing that caused this surgery to be necessary. There wasn’t some grand fall on the court. Greg didn’t have someone barrel into his knee during a fight for a loose ball. It just happened. It sounds like it could be both flukey AND a nagging, chronic problem.

October 28, 2008 – Greg Oden lands on Derek Fisher’s foot in 1st game
This one was definitely a freak accident. Despite Derek Fisher not recalling the incident at the time, Oden apparently twisted his foot while coming down in some way on Fisher’s foot during Greg’s professional debut. He had five rebounds and zero points in nearly 13 minutes before he sprained his foot and was forced to miss the next six games. This was after a spectacular block against his oft-injured counterpart too.

February 12, 2009 – Oden bumps knees with Corey Maggette and misses 15 games
You can chock this up to another freak accident. A random bump with Corey Maggette’s apparently cyborg-esque knee caused Greg to chip his patella. This was not the same knee as the original microfracture surgery.

December 5, 2009 – Oden fractures left patella against the Rockets
This was the big one that has essentially led to his latest microfracture surgery in some roundabout way. The weird thing about this play is he didn’t bump into anybody. He didn’t really even fall awkwardly. He jumped, he landed and he crumpled. It appears to be a freak occurrence in every sense.

Regardless of whether these are freak injuries or a pattern of failed body parts that have been essentially hanging on by a thread, Oden is now done for the season for the third time in his four-year career. It would be one thing if he just had the same injury over and over again. That’s something you could understand.

However, to see him continue have seemingly unrelated accident after unrelated accident, it makes it so much harder to accept what has happened to his young career. Hopefully, he’ll be able to come back from this latest freak injury and show to be more than just an injury timeline.

Good luck, Greg.

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