Big Ten: The Biggest O

By - October 29, 2006

The burning question around the Big Ten -- nay, around college basketball -- has surrounded the return of All-World center Greg Oden.

In case you’ve been living in a hole for the past year or so, Oden is the gifted 7-foot center from Lawrence North High who has drawn comparisons to such hallowed collegiate figures as Patrick Ewing, Hakeem Olajuwon and Bill Russell. If not for the new NBA rule precluding 18-year-old players from entering the league’s player draft, Oden would have certainly been the No. 1 overall pick this past June.

As it is, Oden will attend Ohio State (for a year, at least) alongside Lawrence North teammate Mike Conley. Despite having played as many minutes of Division I basketball as your faithful narrator (that is, zero), Oden was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten team -- complete with a big, fat N/A in the space designated for his 2005-06 final stats.

But since undergoing surgery on June 16 to repair a ligament injury in his right wrist, an exact return date has yet to be determined.

“Hopefully, January 1. That’s the date we have set. Mother Nature could work quicker, but we don’t know the answer.” Matta told reporters. “Once we know he’s cleared and there could be no further damage, no further risk of recurring injury, [Oden will be back]. I just want Greg to get back and feel good.”

Matta said that Oden can run and jump but doesn’t lift weights or use his right hand. Since the doctors removed the screw from the wrist last week, the coach has noticed a renewed boost of energy in his Golden Boy.

“He’s tired of sitting around,” Matta said. “Thursday we will begin the movement process. He has not moved his wrist for the past two weeks, so it will probably be very tight. Looking at the schedule, we would like to have him, but we are not going to rush him.”

Posted by at 01:40 PM on October 29, 2006

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