Greg Oden's Microfracture Surgery: End to Knee Pain for NBA Star?

OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 20: Greg Oden #52 of the Portland Trail Blazers shoots against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game at Oracle Arena on November 20, 2009 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images
greg oden
Greg Oden, of the Portland Trail Blazers, shoots against the Golden State Warriors during an NBA game at Oracle Arena on Nov. 20, 2009 in Oakland, Calif. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

(CBS/AP) Greg Oden is no stranger to knee trouble. Twice in recent years the Portland Trail Blazers center was betrayed by his knees, and now they've done it again. Bigtime.

Oden, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, will miss the season after having microfracture surgery on his left knee, the team said yesterday in a press conference.

"This young man is devastated about not having the opportunity to play this season, being so close to getting back on the floor and just all of a sudden, this situation comes up and it's like, here we go again for him," Portland coach Nate McMillan said.

Oden's rookie year was postponed because of similar surgery on his right knee, and last season he needed surgery after breaking his left kneecap early in December.

Oden's latest surgery is scheduled for Friday in Vail, Colo. He'll have so-called microfracture surgery to repair damaged cartilage that is unrelated to the kneecap injury, the team said.

In the procedure, a surgeon makes a small incision in the knee and then uses a surgical awl to make small holes (microfractures) in the bone near the damaged cartilage. The holes cause the bone to release cartilage-making cells, which then build new cartilage.

Athletes who undergo the procedure can generally return to their sport in about four months, though those in very intense sports may not be able to return to their former level of competition.

Oden had just started easing into practices when the latest knee issue was discovered. He has played in only 82 games during his NBA career, missing 176.

The Blazers host Denver on Thursday and Utah on Saturday.

Without Oden.