Oden Out for Season With Knee Injury
Portland officials expect the center won't play again this season after Saturday night suffering a left knee injury in the first quarter against Houston.
"He's likely to miss the season,'' said Trail Blazers general manager Kevin Pritchard.
Oden fractured his left patella and soon will have surgery. Two years ago, Oden missed all of what would have been his rookie season with a right knee injury.
Oden was taken off the court on a stretcher with 7:45 left in the first quarter. While driving to the basket, Rockets guard Aaron Brooks banged into Oden and he went down in a heap.
Oden was taken to have his left knee examined. At halftime, the Trail Blazers announced the severity of the injury.
"I'm obviously disappointed having worked so hard to get to where I was,'' Oden said in a statement released by the team. "This is a setback, but I'll be back. It's in God's hands now. I want to thank the fans, my teammates and everyone in the Blazers family for all of their good thoughts.''
Oden was on the floor for more than five minutes while doctors and trainers attended to him. Numerous players from both teams came up to shake Oden's hand as he was on the floor.
When he was being pushed off on the stretcher, Oden went so far as to shake the hand of a Portland well-wisher in the stands. But a look of concern was on his face.
Oden was the top pick of the 2007 NBA draft. After missing all of 2007-08 after undergoing microfracture surgery on his right knee, he returned to play last season.
Oden finishes the season with averages of 11.1 points and 8.5 rebounds. He had a career-high 20 rebounds last Tuesday against Miami, his last game before Saturday.
The Trail Blazers have been bothered all season by injuries. Forward Nicolas Batum had shoulder surgery before the season and forward Travis Outlaw suffered a fractured foot in mid-November. Forward Rudy Fernandez sat out Saturday with sciatic pain and will undergo an MRI. It's uncertain if he'll be available Monday at New York.
Even coach Nate McMillan has gotten hurt. He suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon in practice Friday and will undergo surgery Monday. McMillan won't accompany the team on its upcoming four-game trip back East, and the Trail Blazers will be coached by assistant Dean Demopoulos.
McMillan got hurt when he was working out with the players because the team was so short on practice bodies.
Chris Tomasson can be reached email@example.com and on Twitter @christomasson.