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December 6, 2009, 12:47 AM ET
Oden Fractures Patella, Will Undergo Surgery

by Kevin Pelton

Terrible, terrible news from the Rose Garden Saturday night. Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden, enjoying a breakthrough second season that I wrote about on Monday, collapsed early in the first quarter after his knee buckled as he jumped to block a shot. It was immediately clear that Oden was seriously injured, with teammates and players from the opposing Houston Rockets crowding around him before he was taken off on a stretcher.

The diagnosis came just as the Rockets and Blazers hit halftime: Oden fractured his left patella, which according to Portland PR will require surgery and likely end his season.

I’ve got an e-mail in to Prospectus injury expert Will Carroll for more, but I found one other NBA player who suffered a fractured patella–then-Washington Wizards forward Jarvis Hayes, who was injured in late December 2005. Hayes did not apparently initially undergo surgery, but then had the procedure in mid-February 2006 when the patella failed to respond to non-surgical treatment. He missed the remainder of the season, but returned to play 163 out of a possible 164 games the following two seasons.

Of course, L.A. Clippers rookie Blake Griffin is still sidelined by an injury to his patella, but Griffin suffered a stress fracture. Oddly, L.A. Lakers center Andrew Bynum–another promising 7-footer who has faced injuries early in his career–missed an extended period following an injury to his patella during the 2007-08 season, but that was a subluxation of the kneecap (essentially a partial dislocation).

UPDATE: Here’s what Will had to say on Twitter (cleaning up the 140-character grammar): “It’s not bad career-wise. Dumb-luck injury and fractures heal. Not related in any way to microfracture. Just bad luck.”

For the record, when Oden underwent microfracture surgery prior to the 2007-08 season, it was on his opposite knee–the right one.

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