Free agent big man Greg Oden pleaded not guilty on Wednesday and will be tracked by GPS until his trial begins in October to address battery charges after he allegedly punched his ex-girlfriend in the face last week, a judge ruled Wednesday, according to an Associated Press report.
The 26-year-old, who had signed a one-year deal with the Miami Heat last year, is free to leave Indiana until the Oct 22 court appearance, when he will face charges of battery resulting in serious bodily injury and two misdemeanor battery counts. Oden, the No.1 overall pick by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007, was arrested at his mother's home in Indianapolis on Aug. 7 and spent the day in jail.
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According to a probable cause affidavit cited in the AP report, Oden was arrested at 3:30 a.m. at the residence after police officers located a 24-year-old woman on a "blood-splattered sofa with a swollen, bloody face," according to the report. Oden had reportedly hit her when he had raised his arms in the air as friends restrained him while he was engaging in one of his many disputes with his ex-girlfriend as of late; a person related to Oden reportedly said, "every time the two visit and go out, there is an argument to follow." The alleged victim told officers she had fallen and according to the report was "uncooperative" with police, but a friend who witnessed the alleged fight said that Oden had punched her in the face.
Oden missed most of 2009 due to injuries and sat out until last season with chronic back and knee injuries. Last year for the Heat, he averaged 2.9 points in 23 games.
- Marc Weinreich