The Blazers' future
Once upon a time, the Blazers were considered to be the team of the future. They had it all. Billionaire owner. Great arena and fans. Hot shot GM. Great young coach. Future superstar and all-star in Brandon Roy. Future all-star in Lamarcus Aldridge. Franchise center in Greg Oden. Plenty of cheap young talent. Things have seemed to change.
First there was Oden. They selected him over Kevin Durant only to watch him lose his rookie season to microfracture surgery on his right knee. Microfracture surgery is just as serious as it sounds and if most fans understood the structure of the knee they'd know that. It means there's damage to the articular cartilage, which covers the end of the bone (tibia and femur). It keeps the bones from rubbing together. The surgery consists of drilling holes into the bone to stimulate new cartilage growth by the blood, etc that's released. The thing is, the cartilage that regrows isn't as good as the original. NBA teams never release all of the details, but I wonder how did the injury occur? Your bones are covered by articular cartilage, which is then padded by your medial and lateral mensicuses. Was there any damage to his medial or lateral meniscus? If so, how much and did he have to have any of his meniscus removed? Or was he just born with poor articular cartilage, which wouldn't require any meniscus damage? All important questions when talking about the longevity of his career and forecasting injuries to come. Add that to the fact Oden has one leg that's longer than the other, which has got to throw off the way his body evens out the support for his body weight. He could be headed for back pain and more knee problems.
Oden then chips a bone in his left kneecap during his second season in a collision with Corey Maggette. He ends up missing a ton of games. This injury would turn out to be crucial.
This season he splits his left kneecap in half after jumping to contest a shot. He wasn't touched. Surgery required... Out for the season. The details of how bad the fracture was weren't released. The force of his own body broke his kneecap. I've heard from a few sources that Portland's doctors missed a small stress fracture in his kneecap due to the collision with Maggette last season, which eventually caused his kneecap to split. In the meanwhile, Durant has become a superstar. Oden is young, but you have to worry about his future and how much of an impact he'll be able to make considering these injuries.
Earlier this season, it was announced that their owner Paul Allen has cancer. My prayers go out to him, but awful news. As everyone knows, cancer is serious.
Next up, there's Kevin Pritchard. Before this season, he was the Golden Boy. Known for rebuilding the Blazers (getting them out of the Jailblazers age) and for his great moves during the NBA draft. This season, things aren't so pretty. His right hand man, Tom Penn, gets fired for an unknown reason. Now there are rumblings that Pritchard's job is in jeopardy. What in the world happened? It'll be interesting to see if he returns next season.
Rudy Fernandez. He's unhappy and says he isn't getting along with the coach. He's unhappy about his playing time. The reports are that he's thinking about returning to Spain after the season. Another problem on the list.
Then there's Roy. Oden's knees are the most talked about, but Roy has had quite a few knee injuries himself. He's torn his meniscus FOUR times.
- He tore the meniscus in his left knee during high school, which required surgery. The details weren't released, so it's unknown whether he tore the lateral or medial meniscus. It's not known if they stitched the tear or had to remove it.
- He tore the meniscus in his right knee during his junior year at Washington and had to have a large portion of it removed. A LARGE portion. That means it was pretty bad. He's missing a large portion of meniscus that cushions his bone. You can't get back meniscus that's cut out. It's gone. Which meniscus he tore (lateral or medial) wasn't reported.
- He had another surgery the summer of 2008 to repair another partial tear in the mensicus of his left knee. No details were released. It's not known if they just stictched up the tear or had to remove the area that was torn. Which meniscus he tore (lateral or medial) wasn't reported.
- Now he's partially torn the meniscus in his right knee again. The details haven't been released, so it's unknown if he tore his lateral or medial meniscus. That's important because he's already had a large portion of one of his meniscuses removed. Did he tear the same meniscus or suffer a completely new tear in the other one? I'm assuming he did more damage to the meniscus he hurt in college because he doesn't have a lot of meniscus left to cushion his bone, which is what caused the latest injury. That's why there was also a bone bruise. This could be a re-occuring injury because he's basically bone on bone. The reports are that he'll have surgery after the playoffs and be out for 4-6 weeks. With the amount of meniscus (cushion) he's missing, could he be headed for microfracture surgery eventually? Eventually he's going to start to wear out his articular cartilage due to the bone on bone contact, if he hasn't already. We all know microfracture surgery is one year on the shelf. I really think this injury could ruin his career. During his contract talks, I wondered why the Blazers were hesistant to sign him to a max deal. Could this be why? Now the Blazers will be stuck paying a player max money who will have bad knees from here on out. Remember... You can't get back meniscus that's cut out. He'll be playing without a lot of cushion for his knees. After his playing career is over, he'll probably need a new knee, maybe two. The same goes for Oden.
I don't think the Blazers' future is as bright as it was a few seasons ago. There are a lot of understandable doubts heading forward. It'll be interesting to see how it all unfolds.
damn my knee hurts just from reading this.
I agree with you on the Blazer's future, they still can be good, but the main concern is definitely their health. If B-Roy and Oden can stay healthy, they are still a very dangerous team. But I think OKC's future is a lot brighter than the Blazer's, I wouldn't be surprised to see these two teams in the conference final in a couple of years.
Good post man!
I hope the Blazers can get themselfes together next year.
They're too staked with talented players to not, at least, advance to the conf. finals.
And I also hope Greg Oden will finally be able to play a full season. He's just tries so hard and people know how much he can bring to the Blazers, when healthy.