Saturday, November 17, 2007

Injuries are my favorite

Let's get it out of the way: many teams in college football dealt with bad injuries this year. That's part of what has made the season so crazy. The reason I was so happy with Oregon's season mainly had to do with how the team fought through a bunch of their own bad injuries. There really is no excuse for losing a very winnable game, but when Dixon went out it felt like the season just ended. The most frustrating thing is that it seems the coaches knew he had a torn ACL. As much as I can't stand Brady Leaf, game planning for a game quarterbacked by him would have been far different from the plan with Dixon at the helm. And did they seriously think that a week and a half of rest would be enough to bring Dixon back from a torn ACL? Again, we should have won anyway, or we should have won the Cal game to take the two-loss prospect out of the picture, but was still really painful to lose the Heisman front-runner.
Nearly as painful as that game was the one that happened Friday night between Portland and Philadelphia. We went into Philly and took care of business for a little while, but something just happened. It was gross, and I only read the box score and recaps. Aldridge and Roy were both golden, which is great. But really, it hurts the team if only those two can produce. But the theme of this post is injury, not anything else... I'll talk about the big Blazer injury news that's been floating around these last few days. Greg Oden is a BEAST. When I say beast, I mean a beast like this:The stories are talking about the fact that Oden has put on 30 pounds since he was drafted. Maybe I should just quote the rest from the best coverage of this story, in Jason Quick's blog.
And get this: A high-ranking Blazers source told me that Oden today still has the same body-fat percentage (7.8 percent) as he did when the Blazers drafted him, yet he has gained nearly 30 pounds, bringing him near 280 pounds.

Translation: That's 30 pounds of muscle that has been attached to his upper-body (he hasn't been able to do any lower body weight training because of his knee surgery).
The body fat thing is crazy. A lot of the stories out there mention that Nate McMillan wants Oden to back off a little, and his reasons make sense. McMillan wants Oden to look more like this:The difference in these two pictures might not be as obvious as many would think, but most probably remember the difference: Karl Malone had tons of muscle. There was so much bulk on his upper body. He was huge. David Robinson, while big, was lithe and cut. He was scary, but not because of how big he was. He was scary because he was in better shape than anyone else on the court. With Oden having a surgically repaired knee, McMillan thinks it would be better if he took a little of that weight back off so as to not increase the risk of injury on the knee. I agree, but it's also really exciting to see how committed to everything Oden is. I mean, he's maintained the fat percentage even though he can't hardly work out, only lifting weights. This kid is willing to do everything he needs to do.

The main reason I bring this up is that I might have finally come around to the "blessing in disguise" take on the Oden injury. In addition to Aldrdge being the focus of the offense down low and having to deal with the focus of the defense and Roy dealing with greater pressure, this actually does give Oden a chance to build muscle and work on his game and do other things before facing NBA competition. It also builds even more his desire to dominate, since he has to just sit, watch, and wait for an entire season. Man, injuries really are my favorite.

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