Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Trail Blazers' Oden To Miss Entire Career With "Severe" Head Cold

Another addition to team's big man curse?

Portland, OR (Oct. 16) - Prized rookie center Greg Oden, already slated to miss the upcoming NBA season with a bad knee injury, is now out for the rest of his career with a severe head cold.

"It's the worst news possible," Dr. Maurice Gray said at Portland's Nasal and Sinus Institute, where Oden was rushed after experiencing sniffles, phlegm, and a "raw throat."

"Mr. Oden, because of his significant height, is more susceptible to bad head colds, anyway," Dr. Gray said, citing colds' tendencies to enter the tallest human orifices they can find. "But this one has attached to him and just won't let go."

Dr. Gray said that Oden was put through a battery of tests, and the results indicated that the head cold would be around "certainly for the better part of the next decade."

"It's just a real bad one," the doctor said. "I would say his recovery time would put him out for his career, at least."

Oden, who was apologetic to Trail Blazers management and fans after the severity of his knee injury was disclosed, was "inconsolable" following the news of his virus, according to those close to the behemoth from Ohio State.

"He just wants to get on the court and contribute," a friend said. "The knee, we could deal with. But this damned cold..."

Oden's bad news is the latest in a string of foibles associated with Portland and its rookie big men.

In 1972, the team was rooked when it chose LaRue Martin no. 1 overall. Martin was a complete bust and a fraud, who had fooled scouts that he was a legtitimate center, when it turned out he was actually just a very tall, gangly, clumsy kid. In 1974, the team drafted Bill Walton, and while they won a championship with Walton in 1977, his career was ravaged with injuries in Portland. Then, in 1984, there was more foolishness as the Trail Blazers, again acting on bad information that said Michael Jordan was "ill-suited for the NBA," selected Sam Bowie instead of Jordan. Bowie became an insurance salesman halfway thru his rookie season.

The only encouraging news is that without Oden, the Trail Blazers are once again in the running for a lottery pick in 2008. But that news is dampened by the team's history of draft failure.

Oden promised to attend as many Trail Blazers games as he can, as soon as he "stops coughing and hacking."

"We don't want him to infect anyone else," Dr. Gray said.

A team spokesman added, with a sigh, "I guess we should have picked Kevin Durant, after all. Figures that we'd blow it. We always do."

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