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Greg Oden confident he’ll be good to go for camp

We’re three full seasons into Greg Oden’s NBA career, and he’s played just 82 games. It’s not fair. Not to the Blazers, who invested the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 draft in Oden, not to the Blazer faithful, and certainly not to Oden himself. Every nightmare must come to an end, but Oden’s is certainly taking its sweet time to run its course.

However, as is the case with much of the off-season, there is reason to hope. From Brian T. Smith of The Columbian:

Oden said he is “positive” he will be ready for training camp for the 2010-11 season. The Blazers center has recently been working out with Portland strength and conditioning coach Bobby Medina in Indiana. Oden said he has lost considerable weight while going through daily five-hour drills. He plans to lose more weight, but would not reveal his ideal total.

Oden’s presence means a world of difference for Portland, both in terms of their on-court performance and their off-court focus. He’s already an excellent rebounder and a quality defender, but when injured, his impact on the team goes far beyond his basketball abilities. When Oden goes down (and more importantly, when Oden goes out), there is a certain mental toll taken on the team and the franchise as a whole.

Here’s to a season where that isn’t the case. Here’s to the possibility of Oden finally showing the world just how good he is when he can stay on the floor (while avoiding both fouls and excessive injuries). Here’s to the first fully healthy and productive season of Oden’s career, and all that it will mean for him and his team.