Oden Returns, Dunks On First Touch


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HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – Greg Oden is not ready to step into the Miami Heat’s rotation. But he was ready to step on the floor for his first NBA action in 1,418 days. And there he was in New Orleans on Wednesday night, checking in with 5:15 to go in the second quarter.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra ran a play for Oden right away. The big man set a screen for Chris Bosh and dragged Bosh’s man Al-Farouq Aminu into the paint with him. Bosh hit Oden with an entry pass and the big man pivoted and threw down a strong, two-handed dunk, eliciting an emotional reaction from the Miami bench.

A few possessions later, Oden made an impact defensively, stopping consecutive shots by Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis at the rim (though he didn’t get credit for either block). He played 3:59 and, most importantly, walked off the floor feeling fine.

“A mark of success for me,” Oden said back on media day, “is walking on to a court and walking off healthy. Being able to play in a game and just walk off the court healthy, no matter if it was one minute or two minutes. My dream is being able to play basketball, and if I can go out there and do it, run up and down and come off the court again healthy, that’s goal one. Goal two is going to my second game, going on the court and walking off.”

Just a week ago, Oden experienced swelling in his knee after a five-on-five scrimmage, so to see him playing Wednesday — even if it was preseason — was somewhat of a surprise. To see him dunk the first time he touched the ball in an NBA game since Dec. 5, 2009 was rather remarkable.

As a team, the Heat are healthy, with Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Chris Andersen up front. Dwyane Wade looks to be in great shape, Bosh has played well all preseason, and LeBron James is LeBron James. So, while it’s tempting to think about what he could add to a team that’s won two straight championships, there’s absolutely no need for Oden to be ready to start the season on Tuesday.

“We’re thinking big picture with this,” Spoelstra said about Oden’s progress last week. “We’re going to move very patiently.”

If we see Oden play meaningful minutes for the Heat, it probably won’t happen for a while. But this was a big step in his journey back to the NBA.

“I got a long ways to go,” Oden told FOX Sports’ Jason Jackson after the game, “but I’m just happy to be out there.”

51 Comments

  1. Greggie oden says:

    wish him the best !

  2. f all heat haters says:

    we only need him for the playoffs

  3. Agudo says:

    As much of an impact G.O. can make on their chances, the Heat don’t really need him to 3peat. It’ll be harder without him, yes, but he isn’t ‘essential’. So they’ll take their time with him and ease him back. No pressure, minimal minutes, take your time, build that strength up in your knee. For your sake alone and nobody else’s G.O. I hope it works out for you. All the best.

  4. Ed says:

    Its not fair for any athlete not to enjoy and benefit from their God given talent because of injuries. I say its good to see a comeback like Big O did. And good things would happen for the HEAT for giving the guy a chance. Well this is a great step toward a three-peat. With Lebron being a perfect player and a perfect team mate, the HEAT is a force to reckon with.

  5. AkronsBig Mike #1 fan of LBJ says:

    Well just like I predicted early, all the big man needed was someone to build his confidence up and let him see for himself how great he could be and you’ll have an all-star in the makings. Thank you LBJ and the rest of the Heat Organization for putting G.O. under your wings and giving him another chance to be a part of the NBA Champions. God Bless You All.

  6. Mzox210 says:

    Lol he only played one full season is whole career and now he trying to win a ring what a joke

  7. OKC says:

    I hope when OKC wins this year we don’t have a whole bunch of new bandwagon fans jumping in to leave terrible comments.

    • f all heat haters says:

      what fantasy world are u living in okc has no shot at all in fact i hope okc does make the finals so we can have another easy championchip like two years ago

  8. Larry Bird says:

    Would like to see how birdman would fit into the rotation if oden continues to be healthy.

  9. MMoses says:

    Glad to see you had your few minutes of GLORY GOden!!!! No one but you really knows how BIG this is for you; I pray this is the 1st step of many for you son & LET’S GO HEAT!!!! Hailing from Barbados & a loyal Heat fan I am!!!!

  10. SAS says:

    He’s still looking better than Howard.

  11. “but I’m just happy to be out there.”

    You can´t stop him.

    In another topic:

    If d wade can be more healty the whole season and playoff season…let´s go to pray Nets, Clippers, Knicks, Okc, Chicago…
    Whos ´s next?

  12. Md. Azuri bin Zain says:

    Good luck Big-O !!! Stay healthy !!! Prayers from Singapore!

  13. Zach says:

    Does anyone else see KD dunking on Greg Oden in a close finals game at the end of the year?

    WHO’S NUMBER 1 NOW!

    Would be awesome…

  14. Erlo says:

    People forget how good Oden is. Yes, plagued with injury, but if he is healthy he would be one of the best bigs in the league. If he can play 55-60 games and be healthy for the playofffs ain’t no one stopping the heat. WIth Lebron, Wade and Bosh it makes everyone on that team better. Beasely is going to have a killer year too.

    • Okay says:

      Yeah dude Beasley is gonna have a huge year… playing 10 minutes a game off the bench… The beasley signing was a publicity stunt; Beasley’s a loser. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Heat legit did NOT play him at all. Chill out, you’re getting a little excited there.

  15. Cas Jones says:

    So no one thinks it’s absolutely hilarious that THIS man was drafted before Kevin Durant? No? I’ll just go then

  16. Ras Al says:

    I’m a Heat hater (I am from Cleveland after all lol) but great to see Oden back in action. Best of luck from one Ohio boy to another

  17. LeggoHEAT says:

    The Miami Heat got the skills, the talent, leadership, drive, deep bench, everything you can ask for to build a dynasty. It’s all a matter of staying healthy now. First 5 are in pretty good shape, Allen is in a 25 year old physique with an IQ of a wise veteran. Top it with a somewhat healthy Oden and a decent Beasley, IT IS OVER! 3-Peat here we go!!!

  18. Kayos says:

    Let’s hope is comeback is better than Brandon Roy’s.

  19. illuminator says:

    It’s nice to see Greg Oden playing in the NBA again. Good job and Best of luck! Kudos!

  20. ko0kiE says:

    wow.. remember he was drafted before durant… his promise and upside was off the charts and we’re happy that he’s even playing some preseason action. but good for him.. would love to see him come back and have at least a decent career as backup.

  21. Krod_pr says:

    Hopefully he gets back in shape and gets into the rotation

  22. It’s good to see Oden back in the NBA hope you stay healthy all season so i can see you do your thing,so good luck and I’ll keep you in prayers……

  23. Malick SECK says:

    Good luck G Oden stay healthy . from Germany

  24. harlematl says:

    Great look for Miami. If he stays healthy it’s game ova.

  25. Oldhawk says:

    Who cares, the Heat will change their name to the Miami Coattales next season.

    • LeggoHEAT says:

      Obviously a lot of people, except you and some haters whose team would lose to MIA… again ;)

  26. Man I really hope Greg Oden stays health , good luck bro

  27. MICK SEYER says:

    Godbless you GREG ODEN. Take it slow but sure. You’ll be okay. And Godbless the Maimi Heat Organization.

  28. Greg Oden says:

    I would like to thank everyone for their supplle..e.epowow i broke my finger typing

  29. Ridley says:

    Not a big fan of the heat but great to see him up and playing. If he stays healthy the heat we be brilliant with a true big man. To sum up the heat in one word: SCAREY!!!!!

  30. J says:

    when I first seen it, I had a smile on my face. I think they should start him, play him 20 mins and take a risk cause if he gets injured again the heat don’t lose anything.

  31. Miami Heat Fan says:

    way to go Big O! just get healthy and be ready on playoffs time!

  32. qq says:

    man just think how dominant this guy would have been in the nba if he didnt have his knee issues, really cool to se that he dunked on someone and blocked some shots.

  33. Thomas says:

    Greg Oden deserves to do well. He has gone through so many injuries at such an early stage in his career. Wishing him the best of health and continued success for the Miami Heat!

  34. iLOVEthisGAME_NBA says:

    Welcome Dunk by Greg ODEN!

  35. Outsider says:

    I wasn’t paying much attention to the NBA when he was drafted, but from what I’ve seen I really hope he stays healthy too.

    For his sake, no one else’s. Such a shame to see so many talented players go down to injures over the years, but it’s the nature of basketball and being so insanely tall. Takes a very special athlete to stay healthy with that much size.

  36. Jim Muncy says:

    I am not a Heat fan, but if they three-peat (which I suspect they will) I really hope Greg Oden is a big part of it. After all he has been through and the character he has shown, I would love to see him get a ring. Go Greg, keep up the good work.

  37. AG Coleman says:

    Man I hope the old Man can stay healthy The heat will be that much more dangerous entering the playoffs if he can. He needs to continue to work hard n Take very good care of his body! I don’t think he will make it because typically most big guys have a very hard time coming back from chronic knee injuries but for the heat sake especially facing teams like Chicago and Indiana They need as much help in the paint as possible I hope he proves me wrong!!