(UPI) -- The Miami Heat's Greg Oden has been sidelined with knee problems since December 2009, but the big center could finally make his way back to an NBA game this season.
And while swelling in his knee following a five-on-five scrimmage Monday kept Oden off the court Tuesday and Wednesday, things seem to -- finally -- be looking up.
Oden, 25, signed with the Heat on August 7 for a one-year contract, and has yet to play in any of the preseason games. He did take on teammate LeBron James during Monday's exercise, and says he's itching to keep up the long walk to his return.
James "scored on me twice, and I made him miss once," Oden said. "He got the upper hand, but it felt good to be out there."
"I’m a little frustrated with myself because I’m not as back as I want to be, but it’s little steps," he said. "It was another step doing a five-on-five [scrimmage]."
And while his knee problems kept him off the court Wednesday, it didn't keep the smile off his face.
"It's just a little swelling," he said. "As long as there's no surgery, I'm fine."
Greg Oden did not practice but will continue doing his regular work at the hotel.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) October 16, 2013
Greg Oden: "It's just a little swelling. As long as there's no surgery, I'm fine." And smiles.— Ethan J. Skolnick (@EthanJSkolnick) October 16, 2013