Paradise Island, Bahamas (4E Sports) – Miami Heat center Greg Oden underwent his first NBA practice in four years Tuesday in the middle of a hotel ballroom in Paradise Island, Bahamas.
Oden has not played since December 2009 because of chronic knee problems.
He took part in about half of the practice as the Heat had the standard, defensive drill-oriented workout at the conference center of the Atlantis Resort.
“I can run,” said Oden. “The past three years, I haven’t been able to do that. … I’ve got a lot to prove to myself. I’ve been rehabbing for three years. … It’s been a long road.”
Oden later sat on a chair courtside with ice on both knees while his teammates scrimmage.
“They had to pull me off the floor. But I’ve got to take steps,” said Oden about the pratice.
So far Oden has not been cleared by the team for contact.
The Heat is in no rush to get Oden on the floor, and has not even mentioned a timetable for fielding him in a real game.
The team’s goal is to be able to squeeze out contributions from Oden in some important games.
“It’s step by step, practice by practice, minute by minute,” coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It was a big bonus to have him out there. We’ll meet with the trainers and see how he reacts and go from there.”