The 7-0 Oden, the Gatorade and USA Today Player of the Year from Lawrence North High School, begins classes at Ohio State on Monday. But not before undergoing surgery Friday morning to repair torn ligaments in his right wrist.
Oden first injured his wrist toward the end of his high school season, reportedly, and re-aggravated the injury at the McDonald's All-American Game. He already had the wrist X-rayed late in the season but he believed it would heal and he continued to play.
Since then, he participated in the Roundball Classic in Chicago in April and continued to work out and practice until it became unbearable causing him to miss the first Indiana senior-junior all-star game on Wednesday.
Mike Conley Sr., Oden's AAU coach for the Spiece Indy Heat, told Bucknuts.com the time had come to take corrective action with the wrist.
"I think it became apparent the wrist was too bothersome," Conley said.
Oden went back to have his wrist further X-rayed last week. The option was given at the time to let it heal naturally or face surgery – which may include pins being inserted.
It was finally decided this week that Oden would have surgery. Ohio State issued a press release this afternoon.
"Greg Oden is having surgery on his wrist (Friday)," said OSU coach Thad Matta. "We look forward to getting Greg to The Ohio State University for summer school Monday and starting his rehab process to get him back as quickly as possible."
The extent of the tear is still unknown. Because of that, no real estimation on a time for recovery will be known until after the doctors begin the procedure.
"I really haven't even been able to go with him to the doctor any of these times, so tomorrow will be the first time I've made it over with him," Conley said. "I can't offer too much more about the nature of the injury because I haven't been with him, but I don't believe anyone knows that until tomorrow."
According to sources, specialists claim these types of injuries can usually sideline a player anywhere from four weeks to four months on the average. Ralph Reiff, the director of St. Vincent Sports Medicine in Indianapolis told the Indianapolis Star that he's seen players injured in this capacity return in four weeks.
It's believed Oden may be able to return before the beginning of practice on Oct. 15. But until after the procedure, it's nothing more than speculation.
Present at the operation is expected to be Oden's mother Zoe and Conley. There was also a possibility that Matta could join the family at the hospital. (Matta was also scheduled to be at Ohio State for the beginning of the team camp Friday – see details below.)
"They will go in and do the surgery," Conley explained, "and then after the procedures the doctors anticipate finding out the severity and they should be able to give a better idea of how long he's looking at."
With even a four-week recovery, it's nearly impossible that Oden will be able to attend the Team USA tryouts in July as was originally planned. Oden averaged nearly 23 points and 11 rebounds this past season as a senior. He shot nearly 75 percent from the field.
Even during his rehabilitation, Oden will be able to participate in various workouts with the team. The hope is that he will recover within a month or two and join team workouts beginning in September as well as open gyms, and then practice beginning in October.
Oden's injury leaves Ohio State's frontcourt depth vulnerable should his rehab not go smoothly. The announcement of Brayden Bell's transfer to Utah State leaves Ohio State with just nine scholarship players and four frontcourt scholarship players eligible this season. (Bell's former AAU coach confirmed the transfer on Thursday.)
A fifth player, Kyle Madsen, a 6-10 transfer from Vanderbilt, can practice this season but will not be eligible to play until 2007-08.
Bucknuts.com will have more on Oden's surgery and pending recovery as warranted.
OSU Team Camp Kicks Off
As noted above, the OSU team camp is scheduled for Friday and Saturday at various venues on campus.
For basketball fans in the state of Ohio, there are very few opportunities to see some of the state's top talent in one place. But this weekend may be one of those rare chances.
The Ohio State basketball team camp begins Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. with 23 teams heading to Columbus from all parts of Ohio and Indiana. The pool play will run through 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, followed by a single elimination tournament ending at approximately 7:30 p.m.
Because of NCAA regulations, the schedule cannot be published. However, fans should see plenty of good basketball if they choose to attend long enough.
Games are open to the public and will be held in the Value City Arena, the two auxiliary gymnasiums at the Schottenstein Center, the recreation center known as the RPAC and also St. John Arena.
There are plenty of games that could potentially take place. A pair of Ohio State commitments Dallas Lauderdale and Kosta Koufos could do battle as Solon is expected to play Canton GlenOak. Meanwhile, Dayton Dunbar could get another shot at Upper Sandusky as the last two Division II state champions are expected to face one another.
Central Ohio will be represented as Columbus Brookhaven, Columbus De Sales, Gahanna-Lincoln and Canal Winchester are all scheduled. DeSales is led by the son of former Buckeye Clark Kellogg – 6-7 Alex Kellogg. Canal Winchester will be playing for the first time with Ohio State 7-1 junior commitment B.J. Mullens.
Indiana will also be well represented in this year's team camp. The Hoosier state is expected to bring over New Castle, led by guard Zach Hahn. Junior guard Walter Offutt, another Ohio State verbal commitment, and 6-9 forward Ed Hazelett will lead Warren Central to their first appearance at the OSU team camp.
Team camps are permitted annually by NCAA rules and can be attended in full by Ohio State coaches. All teams pay a per-player fee and cover their own hotel and travel expenses.
Each team is guaranteed six games. Games are expected to be two 20-minute halves with two officials for each game.
Those wishing to catch the action have up until about 9:30 on Friday to swing by Ohio State and watch a game. Early birds can return as early as 7:30 a.m. Saturday morning for some breakfast then basketball.
Participating teams are treated to dinner, breakfast and lunch. Coaches are treated to a social.
Because of NCAA rules, schedules and rosters will not be made available. So those planning to attend will want to find someone at the above venues who can point them in the right direction.
Latest Schott In The Arm Posted
We posted the latest edition of A Schott In The Arm column earlier on Thursday.
This special column – intended for Bucknuts.com subscribers on the Club Subscriber Basketball message board – includes notes on:
* The seating changes at Value City Arena.
* Comments from David Lighty on his role in last week's incident where he and two Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph teammates were accused of firing a BB gun at a jogger.
* Discussion on whether any OSU players – present or newcomers – will be playing in the McDonald's Summer League.
* Thoughts on Terence Dials' chances of going in the upcoming NBA draft.
* Recruiting possibilities to round out OSU's 2007 class.
* Talk of OSU dipping into the international ranks for one or more future recruits.
* And much more.
Keep in mind, A Schott In The Arm appears on the premium Club Subscriber Basketball Board. Here is a link to the latest column: