Former top pick Oden to have another knee surgery

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PORTLAND, ORE. (AP) - There appears to be no end in sight for Greg Oden and his troublesome knees.

The Portland Trail Blazers center was scheduled to have arthroscopic surgery to “remove debris” from his left knee. The team announced that the former No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft was to have the surgery Monday in Vail, Colo. The often-injured 7-footer had the same procedure on his right knee earlier this month.

Over the course of his NBA career, Oden has had microfracture surgeries on both knees, surgery to repair a fractured left kneecap and now the two procedures this month.

Oden, who has hot played in an NBA game since Dec. 5, 2009, has appeared in 82 career games for the Blazers, averaging 9.4 points and 7.3 rebounds.

It was expected that he might be able to play for the Blazers this season, but a checkup before the start of training camp in December reportedly revealed concerns about a non-weight-bearing ligament in the left knee, further setting back his rehabilitation. Since then, he has turned down repeated interview requests.

Oden was a restricted free agent heading into this season. The Blazers and Oden initially agreed to an $8.9 million qualifying offer for this year, but when the setback was announced the two sides restructured the deal, which was dropped to $1.5 million. He will become an unrestricted free agent following this season.

It was not known when Oden might be able to play again.

Oden was selected over Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant with the top pick in the 2007 draft. The Blazers hoped the former Ohio State star could lead the team _ along with Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge _ to an NBA championship.

But Oden’s rookie season was postposed when he required microfracture surgery on his right knee that forced him to miss the 2007-08 season.

Oden’s repeated knee problems have drawn comparisons to Sam Bowie, the injury-plagued big man the Blazers selected ahead of Michael Jordan in the 1984 draft.

While Bowie played in 76 games his rookie season, averaging 10 points and 8.6 rebounds, he appeared in just 63 games over the next four seasons because of injuries. He missed the entire 1987-88 season. In all, he had five operations on his legs.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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