When the Miami Heat signed Greg Oden, the thought was that they’re hoping to use him against formidable centers around the league such as Roy Hibbert, Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard. While that is ultimately the team’s goal, the Heat, and specifically All-Star LeBron James, understand that despite former expectations, Oden carries potential limitations given his injury history. When discussing Oden’s signing with reporters – including Brian Windhorst of ESPN – James said that whatever Oden is able to provide the team next season “is extra.”
“Adding Greg is a huge piece for us but we’re not asking too much from him, we’re not going to put too much pressure on him,” James said. “He hasn’t played since 2009, so it’s been awhile. We just want him to work his way back into condition. Whatever he gives us is extra.”
"After three years of being out, I'm just going to go out and do what I can," Oden said. "If somehow (my body) says no, then it says no. But for me, I'm not even worried about that. Just go play and not even think about that. I've signed on the dotted line, put it like that. I've got a contract. As y'all can see this smile, I've got a contract. I'm excited."
This is certainly not the path Oden expected his career to take. However, the big man has accepted his role with his new team, acknowledging that he won’t be able to do the same things he did when he was entering the league.
"I'm 25 (years old) now ... I've got an old body," Oden said. "I understand. My body is not going to be (like it was) when I was 18 and able to run all day and jump over people. I can't do that. It's just not going to happen. My knees, the wear and tear, I understand that. But I'm a play as hard as I can. I'm going to try to jump over people and I'm going to try to run all day. If my body lets me, I'll do it."Follow @hoopsinjurynews