Greg Oden could be cleared next week
Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden could be cleared to return to practice next week.
Oden will be examined Thursday by Dr. Richard Steadman, who performed the most recent surgery on the 7-footer in November 2010.
He has not played since fracturing his left patella in December 2009. Oden is recovering from the microfracture knee surgery 13 months ago.
The top overall pick in the 2007 draft, Oden has been besieged by injuries. He missed the entire 2007-08 season with a right knee injury that required microfracture surgery and chipped his left kneecap in February 2009.
In all, Oden has played just 82 of a possible 328 games in his career. He has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.
The Trail Blazers extended Oden a one-year, $8.8 million qualifying offer in June, making him a restricted free agent.
Oden must decide whether to accept the offer for the upcoming season and become a free agent in 2012, try to work out a long-term contract extension or see if another team signs him to an offer sheet during the NBA free-agent period that is expected to begin Dec. 9.