Uh, can I sign up for the Greg Oden Rehab Program?

The September issue of Men's Fitness has an article about Greg Oden called The Trail Back. It's basically about all the work that Greg has done (and is still doing) to rehab his knee and prepare for the upcoming NBA season. In case you're interested -- and I sure was -- here's what he's doing:

"Our goal for this period of time is to get Greg as fit as possible without having any kind of impact on his knee," explains Blazers trainer Jay Jensen. "He has no swelling or pain, and the knee looks normal. But we're still minimizing his running and pounding on the court."

To achieve their goals, Jensen and strength coach Bob Medina are putting Oden through at least an hour of cardio per day, whether it be on the elliptical machine, bike, or uphill walking drills.

For lower-body workouts, Oden stays away from anything that puts direct pressure on the knee, such as lunges, squats, and leg extensions. Instead, he focuses on exercises that strengthen the rest of his lower body, such as hamstring curls, calf raises, and balance drills for his quad [Note: The magazine represents these drills by showing a picture of him reaching down for a cone]. One area in which Oden's been working consistently throughout the year has been his upper-body efforts, throwing up two sets of 10 in a series of exercises including bench press, lat pulldowns, standing shoulder press, and a number of resistance exercises with elastic bands.

While he's got the conditioning routine down, Oden's toughest training has actually been the limited one-on-one and half-court drills he's been doing. "I'm still doubting my knee in some of the basketball workouts," he says. "Some cuts I'm still a little iffy on. On-court is the hardest part for me."
I am by no means a professional rehabilitation expert or anything, and I can understand why they want to minimize any impact on Greg's knee, but shouldn't they be seriously concentrating on exercises that strengthen the knee itself rather than just "the rest of the lower body"? I seem to remember reading that Amare Stoudemire, who was pretty successful in coming back from his microfracture surgery, did a lot of knee-specific strengthening exercises during his rehab.

In point of fact, here's a description of Amare's rehab program:
[Phoenix Suns Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Erik Phillips] modifies some of Amares off-season workouts to create post-rehab lifts that focus on upper-body strength --avoiding stress on the newly repaired knee. However, Phillips includes exercises where Amare stands and balances on one leg. He says, "Single-leg exercises are great rehabilitation work for his knee. All of the muscles around the joint strengthen because they have to stabilize his bodyweight throughout the set."
Go take a look at Amare's rehab program. Some of those single-leg exercises were squats (which Oden has not been doing), and this was only 10 weeks after Amare's surgery. Greg is closing in to a year past his surgery (although, presumably, the Men's Fitness article was probably written at least a month-ish ago). Shouldn't his trainers be testing his knee a little more so they can determine where he's at? Again, I'm not certified in strength and conditioning or anything. Just curious.

Also, if you read the details of Amare's program, his rehab plan seems much more well-rounded and wide-ranging. Of course, the Men's Health article on Oden's routine was brief, so it's certainly possible he's doing much more than we know. But you know, Men's Health also ran an article about Amare's continued rehab right before his comeback season, and he was running sprints against guards and working on increasing his vertical leap. Meanwhile, the Blazers staff is minimizing Greg's running and it sure doesn't sound like he's doing any jumping. It just seems odd to me, since Amare is practically the poster child for coming back from a catastrophic knee injury, that Oden's rehab isn't at least kind of similar.

Anyway, the article also mentions that Greg put on some weight (about 20 pounds) after his surgery, and taking off that weight has been part of Greg's rehab. They then mentioned something I found kind of interesting:
Not that Oden wasn't doing everything he could to get back into shape. In February, he set a team record for workouts, powering through 38 in 28 days to break former Blazer Jermaine O'Neal's mark. "Greg asked what he needed to do to bust it," Medina says. Oden's regular routine involved a mix of Pilates, pool work, cardio, and weightlifting. "The work ethic is there," added Medina.
I know, I know. As a Pacers fan, the idea that Jermaine O'Neal held any kind of personal workout record shocked the hell out of me, too. But that's not the point. You always hear about teams keeping their own "advanced statistics" that aren't tracked in any official manner, like charges taken, loose balls dived for, etc. I guess some teams even keep track of how many workouts their players do. I'd really like to get my hands on some of these unofficial record books. I'd love to know, for instance, who holds the team record for workouts on, say, the Denver Nuggets. (I'm guessing it's not Allen Iverson.)

And, finally, from The Blazers Blog on (and sent in by Basketbawful reader Sun Devil), here's Greg singing a little NSync, karaoke-style. [Random note from Karl Malone: "NSync...only thing should be NSync is dirty dish."

Labels: , , , , , ,

Blogger Unknown said...
Question: Worst first pick of that year, Oden or Jamarcus Russell?

Blogger Basketbawful said...
flohtingpoint -- First off, dude, welcome back. Seemed like you were gone for a while, but I've noticed some comments from you the last week-ish.

I'm going to go with JaMarcus as the worst pick. I mean, sure, Oden didn't even play, but Russell went out and totally wet the damn bed. Whereas Oden, despite his absence, seemed to actually give his team hope for the future, which they used to overachieve in the present.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Wouldn't they at least talk to the team who helped bring amare back? Or, barring that, at least someone at a local family clinic? common sense police are needed...

Speaking of the suns and rehabilitation, does anyone else get skeptical about teams which have great track records bringing people back from injury?
The last time I saw so many articles about great conditioning with teams was back in early 00's with Oakland/san-fransisco teams. And we all know what the true rehab program was now.
(oh, I was trying to find that reilly article about romanowski, and where'd I find the link? deadspin!

Ok, shaq was probably not really injured. Grant Hill doesn't seem like he'd be easily convinced to all of a sudden take something to help rehab (unless Nash has some sort of evengical style power of persuasion over teamates and is secretely pimping drugs to everyone, those damn canucks). Same with nash, doesn't sound like a bonds type. But anytime a team has magic 'shaq and grant hill are healthy, nashs back is no problem' powers its a bit curious

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I don't care where you read it.

SHENANIGANS on the O'Neal record!

Unless they meant 38 blunts in a month, thought that seems low.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Men's Fitness is always wrong, so I wouldn't necessarly trust it as a factual source.

The Blazers have been strengthening his knee, and Brandon Roy's knee, with workouts that don't actually put stress on the knee. They're doing what you think they should be doing.

As of now, Oden's knee appears fine. He's playing in 5 on 5 games and getting his wind back-- which is the last part of his rehab. Supposedly, he's doing really well.

So I dunno when this magazine article was written, but it seems really old to a Blazer fan who follows stuff by the minute because I am a loser.

Jermaine O'neal worked out a bunch and got buff as a young Blazer, after coming into the league extremely skinny. I got no clue what he did after his Blazer days, but I remember he was known as a hard worker before...

Lucky for us Blazer fans, Oden took his rehab real serious-like and looks to be coming back super duper strong.



Blogger Unknown said...
@Basketbawful: Thanks. Had some personal stuff to handle, moved to the DC area, etc. Things are good now and I have plenty of time to waste yet again.

Russell is who I'd go with too, as at least Oden put on great performances in college. Russell was very run of the mill and overshadowed by other SEC QB's.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
The Blazers staff has experience in recovery from this type of injury. They got Z-bo to recover in less time than it took for Amare to recover in Phoenix. So that his next seasno back he went for 20 and 10 thereby allowing the Blazers to dupe Isiah Thomas to take him off our hands.

So yeah, I think Mr Oden is in good hands.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Microfracture surgery is very different from ligament reconstruction surgeries, which helps explain the large variation in success and strategies for dealing with microfracture.

In ligament reconstruction surgeries, the damage is always located in the same place (whichever ligament is hurt), and the treatment to target it is generally consistent, regardless of who had the injury. It is also well known how various ligaments respond to various types of stress.

Microfracture can be anywhere on the articular surface of the joint, depending on where the damage is. How you treat the surgery and design the rehab can vary greatly depending on where the microfracture occurs and what sort of stresses that area is subject to. I.e., very different plans are needed for the medial tibia and the lateral posterior femur.

Basically, without knowing exactly what was going on inside both Amare and Greg's knees, you really can't directly compare their rehab programs and timetables. Microfracture is still a bit more of an art than a science, which is why it's very very important to have a good surgeon and an excellent trainer, and the ability to be flexible with the recovery.

Speaking as someone who knows way too much firsthand about knee problems.


Anonymous Anonymous said...
All I can think about now is Peter Gibbon's roommate Lawrence saying "Two chicks at the same time, man"

Anonymous Anonymous said...
What is that dirty old man doing with those poor young girls!? Oh wait, it's just Greg Oden.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
anonymous -- Didn't they also manage Darius Miles' rehab from microfracture surgery...?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funnily enough, Miles hired Amare's old trainer to rehab him from his micro(s) and didn't have the Blazers staff run his training.

Actually, to be specific, the BLAZERS hired Amare's old trainer at Miles' bequest.

I dunno which training staff is better, but I do know this (as much as a fan can "know" something): Miles multiple injuries were very very bad, and his micro one of the most severe in the history of pro-NBA micros. Z-Bo's wasn't very nice either. Oden's is the easiest, nicest micro by far because it isn't in a load bearing part of the knee, AND was a very small amount of micro-ing.

Oden's is supposedly also less severe than Amare's.

I think in Miles' case, it was a combination of a very severe injury, trying to play on it at first, then gaining a lot of weight and not sticking to the rehab plan (no other recent micro rehabbers got as fat as he did), and then the knee was in such bad shape that no amount of rehabbing made any difference.

For the past whole season, Miles was seemingly in shape and rehabbing and practicing with Blazer coaches and players... his knee was just kapoot.

Not all micros are created equal, and from all reports from the team and the doctors, Oden's micro was the best sorta' micro you could hope for; especially when compared to other recent micros.

Miles' situation bums me out, because he coulda' been such a good player. I don't blame him for not being able to come back; his knee is just gone.


Blogger Basketbawful said...
Mortimer -- Thanks for the info. I really don't know much about micro-surgery. I wasn't necessarily criticizing the Blazers. Just curious.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Whatcha gonna do with all that junk, all that junk sitting on your surgically repaired knee...

Anonymous Anonymous said...
There have been some more articles in the Oregonian and video on Oregonlive of Oden playing 5 on 5 now. The jist of them is that he is dunking a bunch, but he doesn't have NBA endurance and is getting winded quickly.

Miles had difficulty rehabbing because his knee continued to get infected post surgery leading to more surgery. Then he ate many hamburgers and put on a ton of weight and neckbeard which lead him to the point of no return on the Blazers.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Thank you for the 'Karl Malone' on Kimmel transcripts.

You're a gentleman and a scholar Basketbawful.

Karl Malone says so.

Anonymous Anonymous said...
I think it's quite obvious why Oden's got two girls sitting on his lap... haven't you heard the line "Chicks dig scars"?

...nothing to do with his money and fame...

Blogger The Author said...
I have a lot of hope that Greg comes to the NBA this season healthy and awesome. I'm sure he has plenty of motivation to take care of himself, but if he needs a little extra push, let me say this: Greg, you plus 2 is just the beginning. Honeys will pile on you 9 deep in rotation if you can get the Blazers into the 2nd round. Good luck, my man.