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Greg Oden Dunks in Preseason Debut with Miami Heat

Sports Oden 300x219 Greg Oden Dunks in Preseason Debut with Miami Heat

Greg Oden

By Chris Greenberg 

Greg Oden is back.

For the first time since Dec. 5, 2009, the No. 1 overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft was playing in an NBA game on Wednesday night when the Miami Heated visited the New Orleans Pelicans for a preseason contest. The former Ohio State star has been hobbled by knee injuries since the Portland Trailblazers picked him over Kevin Durant in 2007 and has played a paltry 82 regular-season games.

The 25-year-old center checked into the game with 5:15 remaining in the second quarter. Moments later he had his teammates cheering. Taking a pass from Bosh deep in the paint on Miami’s next offensive possession, Oden rose up over Al-Farouq Aminu and threw down a two-handed dunk.

“It’s been a long time and I’ve been wanting to get out there,” Oden told reporters after Miami’s 108-95 victory, via The Associated Press. “It was only a couple minutes, but it was what I needed, what I can handle right now and, you know, small baby steps.”

Oden played just under four minutes and this was his only basket in his Heat debut. The oft-injured big man signed a one-year deal with the two-time defending champions in August. Despite his short stint in Miami, his teammates seem to have rallied around him after the hard-luck start to his NBA career.

“It was a very special moment,” LeBron James said. “I have no idea what my feeling would be like, being away from the game for three years. It was like a proud moment, man. I was so excited for him when he got on the court and he checked in — and his first basket he gets a dunk. Can you write it any better?”

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