Today, Greg Oden passed a major test: a full practice. The former Buckeye great and first overall pick completed his first whole practice for the Miami Heat today and is on the fast track heading towards playing in a NBA game. After missing the last four seasons due to chronic knee problems, there is a strong chance Oden will see game time sooner rather than later. Unlike last week, when he was cleared to practice but only participated in defensive drills, Oden was fully active in all facets, scrimmages included. The highlight of the practice for Oden came during one of the scrimmages when he blocked LeBron James.
Since signing with Miami, Oden has worked extremely hard to get back in playing shape. He has reportedly dropped forty pounds thus far and plans to lose even more. Coming early to practice and staying late after, it’s clear Oden is itching to play ball again and, as shown by his quote to ESPN, is going to continue to work at getting in top form to join the two-time reigning champs as soon as possible,
It felt good to get out there and get some up-and-down. You can see I’m frustrated because I’m not as back as I want to be. But it’s little steps, and today was another step, getting out there and doing some five on five
Early reports stated that Oden wasn’t expected to play in any games until after Christmas, so any and all participation is met with open arms in Miami. It would be tough to find a better confidence booster then blocking the four-time MVP James, who said afterwards that he had no hesitation at driving straight at the seven-footer. While it is quite unlikely that Oden will play in either of Miami’s two preseason games next week, there is a chance he could play in one of last three as a reward for his progress.