The 25-year-old player, who hasn't played an NBA game since December 2009 over knee problems, is hopeful that the Miami Heat will let him play in the preseason.
"I've got to go through training camp and make sure my body holds up," Oden, who signed as a free agent in August, said at Heat media day Monday. "If the knee holds up, I would hope they will let me play in the preseason. I think it's realistic. Just going on how my body feels and how I feel, I think it's realistic."
On that note, the 7-foot center also hopes to play in the the Oct. 29 regular-season opener against Chicago. Even is its just for a few minutes.
"I would like to," Oden said. "I understand I won't be playing 20 minutes, but if I could get out there and play a couple of minutes."
The decision, however, will be up to the Heat medical staff as well as the team's coach Erik Spoelstra .
"I tell Greg, 'No expectations,' " Speolstra said. "The expectations are to come in here and work and get healthy. ... There's no timetable [as to when Oden might play]. The biggest test for us is can we add to the work load and see how he feels the next day without the timetable of having to perform. If it happens to be two months, three months from now [that Oden plays], we'll see. But we're going into it with an open mind and we'll see what happens."
In August the Heat announced the former No. 1 player had signed a two-year-contract with the Miami team.
Oden was taken by the Portland Trail Blazers during the first selection of the 2007 draft. He had left Ohio State after one season. The Buckeyes advanced to the NCAA Tournament title game with Oden.
However, after signing with Portland Oden has appeared in only 82 games due to a series of injuries. He has had three microfracture surgeries on his knees, most recently on Feb. 20, 2012.
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