October 31, 2008
This needs to stop.
I've spent the last few days reading bits and pieces from men whose work I admire and whose opinion I trust, guys like Johnny Ludden and David Thorpe; and, I'm sorry, I am the only one who doesn't think Greg Oden is a walking Saltine Cracker?
This guy isn't Sam Bowie, or Bill Walton. Sam Bowie and Bill Walton had bones that would continually break, over and over. The same bones. Put a little pressure on them, and boom, a stress fracture. Or a broken leg. Bones breaking, because their bones weren't all that great. Bones and breaking and breaking da bones.
Greg Oden has done this:
This). Broken his wrist.
This). Torn his knee and undergone microfracture surgery.
This). Twisted his ankle.
And, This). Sprained his foot.
In any of that, do we see the same injury, coming back time and time again?
He broke his wrist. That's a freak thing that can happen to anyone. He tore up his knee and needed the microfracture operation, a quick tear that can happen to anyone. It's happened to John Stockton, it's happened to Brian Grant, it's happened to Amare Stoudemire. He twisted his ankle, same thing. Andrew Bynum bear-hugged him as he planted to go up for a shot and his foot rolled over.
Freak thing. It could happen to anyone.
Greg Oden's giant body has nothing to do with the fact that his foot rolled over on Tuesday night. Absolutely nothing. He planted to go up, and was held by the second-biggest man on the court. Could happen to Shaq, it could happen to Steve Blake. It's happened to me, and save for a beer belly and bloated Irish mug, I hardly have a giant body that needs holding up.
Yao Ming, Bowie, Walton; these guys have all broken bones in their feet, feet that could not withstand the pressure of holding up their giant frame. That's entirely different. There is nothing about Oden's injuries that has anything to do with stress or wear and tear or anything brittle. I realize that I appeared to have jumped over to the Oden absolver camp with a post from a few weeks ago, so I'm aware of my reputation, but this is akin to comparing Kenyon Martin's injuries to Zydrunas Ilgauskas'.
Martin, as you'll recall, broke his leg in his senior year of college. Freak play. He then broke a different bone in his other leg toward the end of his rookie year with the Nets. Freak play. He's also undergone microfracture surgeries on both of his knees. Freak plays, both. This is not a history of things breaking down, this is a history of incredibly bad luck, something that Martin and his body had nothing to do with.
Big Z, on the other hand, kept breaking the same bones in his foot, and his career was essentially a wash for his first five or six seasons. That's different. That's not freakish, or something that can be (sadly) relied upon. That's something to be expected.
(And, it should be noticed, Big Z luckily overcame his issues. The same can't be said for Walton and Bowie, who had the same type of stress fractures. Here's hoping Yao Ming's career travels down Big Z's path.)
I don't see anything in Oden's injuries that tell me he's anything more than incredibly unlucky. There was nothing in what happened the other night that should tell us otherwise.
You think his microfracture or giant frame or broken wrist had ANYTHING to do with his foot rolling over as Andrew Bynum bear-hugged him? Come on. You think it has anything to do with his upper frame? There's no way. Every player in the NBA, given the similar trajectory and similar circumstances, would have done the same thing.
He may be clumsy, but he'll be fine. This isn't wishful thinking. Promise.