By Ben Golliver
The Celtics, reeling from season-ending injuries to two players in the last week, spent Saturday meeting with Greg Oden to find out where the oft-injured seven-footer stands in his own rehabilitation.
CSNNE.com reports Celtics president Danny Ainge's characterization of the meeting.
"It was just a chance to get to know Greg a little better," Ainge, president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com on Saturday. "We meet with free agents all the time."
"It was a good conversation," said Ainge, who added that no contract offer was made to Oden. "When he has been healthy, he has been a good player in our league. Like I said, this was just a chance for us to get to know him better. That's all."
The Boston Herald adds more from Ainge.
"We wanted to talk to Greg to see where he is physically," Ainge said.
"We're just finding out as much as we can and letting Greg know what we have here," said Ainge. "He's not ready to play now, but he's someone who's very interesting."
Oden, 25, is an unrestricted free agent after he was released by the Blazers last year. He is currently rehabilitating from multiple knee surgeries in February 2012, including a second microfracture surgery on his left knee and arthroscopic surgery on his right knee. The Associated Press reported recently that Oden said that his goal is to be ready for the 2013-14 season.
The No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft has not played in an NBA game since Dec. 5, 2009. Still, he's drawn interest in recent weeks from a number of teams, including the Spurs, Hornets, Bobcats, Pacers and Mavericks, according to ESPN.com. The Heat have been linked to interest in Oden for years and Oden’s agent, Mike Conley Sr., told Fox Sports Florida recently that there is mutual interest. The Cavaliers have also been linked to Oden in a number of reports, including one by the Akron Beacon Journal this week.
Prior to his round of surgeries in April 2012, Oden also had left knee surgery in 2009 after fracturing his patella, microfracture surgery on his left knee in 2010 to address a “defect” that occurred during non-contact rehabilitation work and a microfracture surgery on his right knee in 2007. Oden also reportedly underwent Orthokine injections on both knees back in May 2012.
There are plenty of reasons to be skeptical of an Oden comeback: he was never consistently healthy during his four-plus seasons in Portland, microfracture surgeries are major surgeries, and he developed blood clots in his left ankle that were considered serious enough to delay his February 2012 surgery. Most damning, Blazers executives admitted following his latest surgeries that Oden was never cleared for full-contact, five-on-five play at any point following his 2009 fractured patella and that significant swelling and pain prevented him from advancing in his rehabilitation work.
This week, the Celtics lost All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo and rookie forward Jared Sullinger to knee and back injuries, respectively. Boston currently sits in the Eastern Conference's No. 8 seed at 23-23. Oden holds career averages of 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game in 82 appearances.