Spoelstra on Oden's advancing, starting
You’re well aware of the multiple knee injuries Greg Oden sustained while a member of the Portland Trail Blazers. We don’t have to get into that. What’s important is that the kid is healthy and tonight, he will face his former team for the first time as a member of the Miami Heat.
He addressed the media after shootaround today and he let it be known that today is just about getting a win.
Do you have any emotions going into tonight’s game against your former team?
“It’s a game we need to win. We’ve been up and down. It’s just about this team and about us getting a win right now.”
Is there a personal feeling about tonight’s game?
“I would like to win.”
Have you had this game circled?
“No. Every game I’ve played is basically a circled date. I’m not trying to look at any team just because I used to play for them. I’m happy to be out there playing against anybody.”
Were there ever any doubts you’d get back to this point?
“A little bit. I would be a lying if I said I wasn’t. There’s been some ups and downs but I’m here now.”
Where are you at physically?
“I’m playing. That’s all that matters.”
Did it catch you by surprise when coach said you would be a starter from here on out?
“Yeah, I thought I did something. But I’m happy I get to do that and it just helps me out getting a better rhythm. I get to get in the rhythm of the game as everybody else gets in the rhythm of the game instead of coming in when everybody has played about 45 minutes of basketball and then I’m coming in cold, trying to catch up even though I’m already a little behind anyways. So, I like it.”
The team has changed a bit since you left. Thoughts?
“I think it’s been two years since I was there. Guys move on. It’s a business like that. I’m happy those guys are still there and doing their thing. Especially happy for LaMarcus who is an All-Star and you know, you got to move on?
Your motivation for coming back?
“I just wanted to play. I was sitting at home last year watching everybody else. I wanted to come back and definitely give it a shot and show that I can still play this game.”
Coach Erik Spoelstra
What has the process been like getting Oden to this point?
“This has been a four-year journey for him just to get to this point. He’s put in a tremendous amount of work with him behind the scenes. We couldn’t be happier for him to get to this point. The word we’ve never used with him is fast track. The word we’ve used is patience. And this has been a very slow, methodical process where it’s taken incredible fortitude and patience on his part. And commitment to do all the work behind the scenes and now he’s able to contribute virtually on an every night basis. We’re not playing him on back-to-backs right now. But every other night he’s available and I think that’s the biggest victory of all.”