Oden hopes to return to court in July

Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden(notes) said he hopes to be back on the court by the middle of next month.

Oden missed the remainder of the season after fracturing his left kneecap on Dec. 6. He said he hasn’t had any setbacks in his rehabilitation and hopes to resume basketball activities in the middle of July. His current program has him riding a bicycle, walking on a treadmill and jogging in the pool.

“I just want to get back to playing,” Oden said. “I’ve been improving so much. I just want to get back on the court and show what I can do.

“I’m 100 percent confident that there will be no setbacks and I will be ready to play ball. Mentally, it’s still tough, especially as the summer goes on and I’m watching the Finals. But I’m not down on myself or doubting myself. I’m going to have a good summer and be back.”

Prodded by his agent, Oden recently met with a nutritionist in Los Angeles to improve his diet. He also has tried to improve his mental outlook after playing in just 82 of a possible 246 games in his first three seasons because of injuries.

“I’m being open-minded to a lot more things,” said Oden, who is eligible for a contract extension this summer. “I’ve got to stop being stubborn. There are a lot of things I’ve tried and I keep getting injured.”

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Updated Thursday, Jun 17, 2010