Greg Oden undergoes kneecap surgery

Greg Oden undergoes kneecap surgery »Play Video
File photo of Greg Oden, Portland's No. 1 2007 draft pick.

PORTLAND, Ore. - The Trail Blazer's break-out center Greg Oden, injured in Saturday night's game, underwent surgery to re-attach his left knee cap Sunday. Team members said they're hopeful Oden will be ready for training camp next year.

Oden went out of the game in the first quarter of Saturday's game. Up against the Houston Rockets at Portland's Rose Garden, Oden fractured his knee in a non-contact injury after leaving the ground on defense. He was carried off the court in a stretcher.

This injury is a major blow to the lineup as Blazers trainers confirm Oden had indeed fractured his left patella. Oden underwent what they're saying was "successful" surgery Sunday.

Blazers General Manager Kevin Pritchard, in a phone interview with KATU Sunday, said the good news is there is no major ligament damage. Doctors put in two screws to re-attach Oden's left patella.

Oden will miss the rest of the season. However, members of the team said they are hopeful Oden will be ready for training camp next year.

What makes this injury even tougher for the team - and its fans - are that Oden had really started performing for the team. Before this ugly knee twist, Oden had stepped up his game on both ends of the floor.

Critics said he was so clearly improved from his rookie year. He also had the Blazers' top people once again talking about how dominant he could become in a short time. And now this.

Oden was staying positive Saturday while in the locker room on crutches at half time. Oden reportedly told his teammates in the locker room he was sorry he let them down.

Then, he gave the team his half-time speech: They had better win the game. And they did in an exciting fashion.

Since it now is confirmed that Oden's injury is season-ending, many are left wondering just how long his recovery may take.

KATU's Susan Harding talked with an orthopedic surgeon to find out how this kind of injury could impact Oden's future.

"Most of the time patella fractures are things that heal very well, especially in young guys like Greg," said Dr. Alec Denes who works at an orthopedic and fracture clinic. "I think he has good potential to at least get back to training and competition, may not get back to the same
level, but I think he has good potential for that."

Dr. Denes said there are two types of patella or knee cap fractures. One involves the joint surface; the other involves a tendon and a small piece of bone.

In the best-case scenario, Oden's injury would be confined mostly to the tendon and he would need six months of recovery time. If that's the case, Denes said he would expect Oden to be training again by the spring and ready for competition next fall.