Uh, can I sign up for the Greg Oden Rehab Program?
The September issue of Men's Fitness has an article about Greg Oden called The Trail Back. It's basically about all the work that Greg has done (and is still doing) to rehab his knee and prepare for the upcoming NBA season. In case you're interested -- and I sure was -- here's what he's doing:
"Our goal for this period of time is to get Greg as fit as possible without having any kind of impact on his knee," explains Blazers trainer Jay Jensen. "He has no swelling or pain, and the knee looks normal. But we're still minimizing his running and pounding on the court."
To achieve their goals, Jensen and strength coach Bob Medina are putting Oden through at least an hour of cardio per day, whether it be on the elliptical machine, bike, or uphill walking drills.
For lower-body workouts, Oden stays away from anything that puts direct pressure on the knee, such as lunges, squats, and leg extensions. Instead, he focuses on exercises that strengthen the rest of his lower body, such as hamstring curls, calf raises, and balance drills for his quad [Note: The magazine represents these drills by showing a picture of him reaching down for a cone]. One area in which Oden's been working consistently throughout the year has been his upper-body efforts, throwing up two sets of 10 in a series of exercises including bench press, lat pulldowns, standing shoulder press, and a number of resistance exercises with elastic bands.
While he's got the conditioning routine down, Oden's toughest training has actually been the limited one-on-one and half-court drills he's been doing. "I'm still doubting my knee in some of the basketball workouts," he says. "Some cuts I'm still a little iffy on. On-court is the hardest part for me."
I am by no means a professional rehabilitation expert or anything, and I can understand why they want to minimize any impact on Greg's knee, but shouldn't they be seriously concentrating on exercises that strengthen the knee itself rather than just "the rest of the lower body"? I seem to remember reading that Amare Stoudemire, who was pretty successful in coming back from his microfracture surgery, did a lot of knee-specific strengthening exercises during his rehab.
[Phoenix Suns Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Erik Phillips] modifies some of Amares off-season workouts to create post-rehab lifts that focus on upper-body strength --avoiding stress on the newly repaired knee. However, Phillips includes exercises where Amare stands and balances on one leg. He says, "Single-leg exercises are great rehabilitation work for his knee. All of the muscles around the joint strengthen because they have to stabilize his bodyweight throughout the set."
Go take a look at Amare's rehab program. Some of those single-leg exercises were squats (which Oden has not been doing), and this was only 10 weeks after Amare's surgery. Greg is closing in to a year past his surgery (although, presumably, the Men's Fitness article was probably written at least a month-ish ago). Shouldn't his trainers be testing his knee a little more so they can determine where he's at? Again, I'm not certified in strength and conditioning or anything. Just curious.
Also, if you read the details of Amare's program, his rehab plan seems much more well-rounded and wide-ranging. Of course, the Men's Health article on Oden's routine was brief, so it's certainly possible he's doing much more than we know. But you know, Men's Health also ran an article about Amare's continued rehab right before his comeback season, and he was running sprints against guards and working on increasing his vertical leap. Meanwhile, the Blazers staff is minimizing Greg's running and it sure doesn't sound like he's doing any jumping. It just seems odd to me, since Amare is practically the poster child for coming back from a catastrophic knee injury, that Oden's rehab isn't at least kind of similar.
Anyway, the article also mentions that Greg put on some weight (about 20 pounds) after his surgery, and taking off that weight has been part of Greg's rehab. They then mentioned something I found kind of interesting:
Not that Oden wasn't doing everything he could to get back into shape. In February, he set a team record for workouts, powering through 38 in 28 days to break former Blazer Jermaine O'Neal's mark. "Greg asked what he needed to do to bust it," Medina says. Oden's regular routine involved a mix of Pilates, pool work, cardio, and weightlifting. "The work ethic is there," added Medina.
I know, I know. As a Pacers fan, the idea that Jermaine O'Neal held any kind of personal workout record shocked the hell out of me, too. But that's not the point. You always hear about teams keeping their own "advanced statistics" that aren't tracked in any official manner, like charges taken, loose balls dived for, etc. I guess some teams even keep track of how many workouts their players do. I'd really like to get my hands on some of these unofficial record books. I'd love to know, for instance, who holds the team record for workouts on, say, the Denver Nuggets. (I'm guessing it's not Allen Iverson.)