Heat center Greg Oden played in his first basketball game since 2009 on Wednesday at New Orleans Arena.
Oden, the former No.1 overall pick of the 2007 draft, checked into the game with 5:15 left in the second quarter and immediately dunked a pass from Chris Bosh. Oden played exactly three minutes and 59 seconds in his first action in nearly four years. The center has battled knee problems throughout his professional career and is attempting a comeback with the Heat.
Oddly enough, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra wouldn’t allow reporters to talk to Oden during the morning’s shootaround session. The reason became obvious after a timeout in the second quarter when Oden replaced Battier in the lineup. Oden’s first appearance with the Heat came alongside Bosh in the frontcourt. Also in the lineup with Oden were Mario Chalmers, Ray Allen and LeBron James.
“Welcome back G.O.,” tweeted Heat owner Micky Arison after Oden’s stint in the second quarter.
Pat Riley, who spoke in Sioux Falls, S.D., on Tuesday evening, attended the Heat's shootaround on Wednesday morning.
Oden’s best defensive sequence came with 2:53 left in the second quarter when he altered the shots of Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday one moment and then immediately forced New Orleans forward Anthony Davis into a difficult shot attempt after a rebound and put-back attempt. Oden then forced a jump ball on the play.
Oden missed a pair of free throws with 2:15 left in the second quarter before checking out for Battier with 1:16 left in the period.