The Miami Heat are growing increasingly concerned that center Greg Oden may not be available to the team for the upcoming playoffs and the team’s quest for the NBA’s first three-peat in nearly two decades.
Amid much fanfare, the Heat signed the 7-foot veteran center and former No. 1 overall draft pick last summer with banter quickly spreading Oden was being viewed as the team’s answer in providing the size and muscle the franchise has lacked even in their back-to-back title winning-seasons.
Overall, the 26-year-old Oden has played in just 22 games this season, including a six minute, two point and one rebound performance last week against Eastern Conference nemesis Indiana, the one team he was signed to aid the champs in beating.
In all, Oden has averaged nine minutes, three points and two rebounds this season and has missed the last two games with back spasms. And now comes word to Heat fans everywhere courtesy of the Miami Herald warning “you think Oden will start in the playoffs, at least in the playoffs? Oden is done.”
Indeed, as much as any foe, injuries appear to pose the greatest threat to the Heat’s drive to become the only team other than Michael Jordan’s Bulls and Kobe Bryant’s Lakers to earn three consecutive titles over nearly the last 20 NBA seasons. LeBron James’ sidekick Dwyane Wade has already missed 20 games this season and remains listed as day-to-day.
During Friday night’s win over Detroit, Wade, Oden, Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers were out with varying injuries, with the sharp-shooting Allen now having missed the team’s last several games with a stomach virus.
Even two-time reigning MVP James has already missed three games this season, suffering the ill-effects of a broken nose and is also known to be nursing other such ailments as a tweaked ankle and balky back.
“At this point, there’s going to be someone out every night,” James recently told reporters of the Heat’s path forward.