I wrote this post in December of 2009. I remember feeling absolutely horrible for Greg Oden, all of his teammates, all of his fans, everyone who cared about him. I hate that I’m thinking about this post, referencing it again, because he’s once again in a similar situation where surgery is in his future.
I can’t imagine how frustrating, defeating and painful it must be to have your young body betray you when it is your body is what allows you to do what you love.
If writing were to be taken away from me, I wouldn’t feel like me.
I hope the continued love and support of Greg’s family helps to keep his spirits up. I don’t know what else there is to say except I wish him well whatever happens next.
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Last night, a chunk of the NBA world was frozen. The cause was not a fun one like Kobe Bryant’s miraculous bank shot on Friday night that made everyone pause in disbelief. It wasn’t because of a crazy finish, a great performance or particular play. It was because of Portland Trail Blazers big man Greg Oden. Oden jumped into the air last night, and on the way up, he immediately grabbed his knee. Clutching his leg as he came back down to earth, those that were watching collectively felt their hearts being squeezed as they watched a player who has already been through so much in his three-year NBA career, suddenly be dealt another blow.
Midway through the second half of the game, the diagnosis was reported: fractured left patella. Will undergo surgery. Likely to miss the remainder of the season. Again. No. Can’t be happening. Except it is.
Feeling helpless is the most frustrating feeling in the world and right now, that is exactly what Oden is, dependent upon surgery and rehab to fix his knee. In addition to the knee, my thoughts go to his spirit. Having to go through all of this again, will be tough. As writers, bloggers, nba players and other athletes alike all offered their support last night on Twitter, he will need continued support through this. If you feel the urge to send him well wishes and positive energy, please go to BlazersEdge.com and do it.
Imagine being separated from the thing you love more than anything else in the world, because your body has “betrayed” you. I hope to never feel it, but if I do, I don’t want to endure it alone. Because I can’t do anything but send my best and I hate feeling helpless, my letter to Mr. Greg Oden:
I hope you get so many well wishes, texts, emails, phone calls and emails that you never make it to all of the online messages waiting for you. I hope your spirit feels strong, your physical pain is minimal and that your mind stays clear of negative thoughts.
I wish you the speediest recovery that surgery, support and physical therapists can bring. I hope you remain hopeful, confident and clear-headed. That the people calling you injury-prone or questioning your body don’t get to you. That your teammates support does. That you don’t fall prey to reading the blogs and newspaper articles written by people who are not doctors and who don’t know anything about what the future may hold for you. That one day, you will be told of the wavering in Kevin Pritchard’s voice as he told us about being with you after this injury and you will know, without a doubt, that you were meant to be a Blazer. That the Blazer’s organization —from top to bottom— is your family. That you know we noticed how you took time to grab a fans hand, while you were on that stretcher being wheeled off of the court you’ve worked so hard to be on.
What’s more, we’ve noticed you. Your dedication to your franchise, your fans, your family and friends. We feel like we know you because of this. Thank you for recognizing the support. Know you’ve got your ownsixth man as you go through this, providing a spark “off of the bench” whenever you need it as you try to make it through this.
You will make it because you’ve made it through the dark days in a hospital bed, through rehab, limping, crutching, watching, praying, waiting, hoping, wishing and yearning to be back before. You have been through the dark and made it to the light. It isn’t fair that you have to do it again. None of us can even pretend that it is. But it’s here. Another challenge. You will conquer this because the people around you will not allow you to stay in the dark. Your smile deserves to shine in the light.
This isn’t even about basketball. It is, but it’s about so much more. It’s about a dream that happens to be rooted in the game. It’s about you mattering to us because the game matters so much to you. If ever you need to be reminded of that support, remember Carl Landry grabbing your hand because he didn’t know what else to do to tell you he was with you. Sometimes there are no words. There definitely isn’t an explanation for this.
I wish I didn’t have to be typing these words.
When you get as emotionally invested into the game as I do, sometimes tears happen. When Allen Iverson returns to Philadelphia and kisses the court, I’m done. When Chris Webber’s jersey is retired I am a wreck in a sports bar, shredding paper coasters until the bartender gives me a new stack to rip through. When players get championship rings, when we see families watching their rookie sons for the first time, all of that stuff gets me choked up.
I was so shocked last night, I did not cry. I had a sick feeling similar to the one that was written on yours on your way out of the Rose Garden. Then my mother called. Without intending to, I burst into tears, telling her what had happened. I know I’m not alone, I’ve gotten emails from others who were reduced to tears because they didn’t know what else to do to express their sincerest apologies for this happening to you.
And we don’t even know you. We’ve never sat in a room and watched you go through gruelling rehabbing sessions, or had to hear you long to play the game as you stayed back in Portland as your teammates went on road trips without you.
We cried because we know how hard the immediate future is going to be for you.
We cried with you. Know that while you don’t know us either, we will be with you, every step of the way as you get through this dark tunnel so you will be able to run through the dark tunnel of the Rose Garden, making your way to the court so your smile can be illuminated by the bright lights once again.
Wishing you all of the best, Greg. I know you won’t let this break you.