Dwyane Wade knows a thing or two about knee injuries and the kind of impact they can have on a player's game, but that's not stopping him from getting excited about the Miami Heat's recent acquisition of Greg Oden.
Wade spoke to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel on Thursday at an event in Hollywood, and the Heat star says Oden has done a great job trying to get his body back into shape:
"I think it's great," Wade said of the Heat beating out several other suitors for the 7-foot, 275-pound center. "Greg has actually done a good job of trying to get his body back. He's 25 years old. He wants to play the game of basketball at a high level, like he knows he's capable of. And he's been snake-bitten a little bit, and I think he's done a good job of taking time off and trying to get healthy."
Oden, the No. 1 pick in 2007, hasn't played in the NBA since 2009 due to lingering knee problems that have required multiple surgeries. After a third microfracture procedure in 2012, Oden's doctor essentially told the big man to give up the game.
But Oden instead dedicated himself to a comeback attempt, and he garnered interest from numerous teams this offseason before choosing to sign with the Heat, a decision clearly endorsed by Wade:
"He can be one of those Shane Battier-Ray Allen summers, when we sign a guy, or Birdman, as well," he said, referring to last season's signing of Chris Andersen. "We sign a guy that a lot of people weren't really looking at to be a big part of something and he can become a big of what we're trying to do."
Wade himself has undergone some knee treatment this summer, and he's just about ready to resume basketball activities. The Heat training staff has put in a lot of hard work to keep Wade going the last few seasons, and he believes they can do the same for Oden:
"He's come to the right place," he said. "They will do everything in their power to make sure that he's able to be on the court and be effective. They're doing a good job. Hopefully he doesn't rush it. We take him step by step."
If Oden can stay healthy, perhaps he can have an impact similar to Birdman, who became a key part of Miami's frontcourt rotation during last year's championship run. Of course, that's a big if.