Former No. 1 draft pick Greg Oden of the Portland Trail Blazers will miss the rest of the National Basketball Association season following the fifth knee surgery of his career.
Oden, 24, hasn’t played in an NBA game since Dec. 5, 2009 because of knee injuries.
The Blazers said in a statement that Oden was undergoing surgery on his left knee yesterday when doctors discovered more damage and determined a microfracture procedure was necessary. The 7-foot center has now had three microfracture surgeries, a process that entails making tiny fractures in the knee bone to cause bleeding and stimulate new cartilage growth.
“It’s hard to put into words the heartbreak for everyone involved, but especially for Greg,” Trail Blazers president Larry Miller said. “He’s a young man who has experienced a great number of physical challenges in his playing career and today is yet another significant setback for him.”
The latest surgery may signal the end of Oden’s time in Portland, if not his NBA career. He’s scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season and The Oregonian newspaper reported that no player has returned to the NBA after having three microfracture surgeries.
Oden, the first player taken in the 2007 NBA draft, averaged 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds in 82 games for Portland during the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons. He had microfracture surgery on his right knee that forced him to miss his first season.