Greg Oden's NBA career is over. After the star-crossed Portland Trail Blazers big man had yet another knee operation this week that resulted in unexpected microfracture surgery, the 2007 No. 1 overall pick instructed doctors to cut his legs clean off below the hip this morning.
"I'm happier than I have been in years now that I made this decision to move on from traditional basketball and focus on a career in the National Wheelchair Basketball Association," said Oden before boing under the knife. "I am excited for a fresh start as an athlete."
Oden says he made the decision because he was tired of sitting on the sidelines during his athletic prime.
"I'm 24 years-old now. I've barely played in a game since I was 21," he said. "And there is no end in sight to the surgeries. But on the wheelchair court I can immediately utilize my strength, arm length and shooting touch. It was an easy decision for me."
While Oden went into surgery in a positive mood, doctors dread telling him what they found during the dual amputation.
"First of all, we realized when one leg was already off that he Greg could've played wheelchair basketball and kept his legs," said Dr. Michael Porponte. "There's no rule against it. You just have to move around the court in a wheelchair. We all probably should have thought this through a little more."
But that's not the only bad news the surgeons must share with Oden when he comes out of anesthesia.
"When we were wheeling him out of the O.R., we accidentally tipped the gurney and he fell off, breaking both of his shoulders," said Dr. Porponte. "Based on his healing track record, I doubt we'll see him in the NWBA before 2014, if ever."