Greg Oden’s knee twinge required surgery.

An exploratory arthroscopic surgery performed on Greg Oden today revealed cartilage damage to the Portland Trail Blazers rookie™s right knee. Oden is likely to miss the 2007-08 NBA season.

“Greg had an arthroscopy and a micro fracture surgery today,” said team physician Dr. Don Roberts, who preformed the surgery. “He was found to have articular cartilage damage in his right knee. The area of injury was not large and we were able to treat it with micro fracture, which stimulates the growth of cartilage. There are things about this that are positive for Greg. First of all he is young. The area where the damage was is small and the rest of his knee looked normal. All those are good signs for a complete recovery from micro fracture surgery.”

Sympathetic/superstitious fans may want to help out Dave at Blazer’s Edge:

Blazer fans are remembering Bill Walton’s feet, Sam Bowie’s leg, Steve Johnson’s knees, Kevin Duckworth’s waistline, Chris Dudley’s free-throw stroke, Joel Przybilla’s man-parts, and everything that’s ever broken down on a whole litany of Blazer big men over the years. It seems like every Blazer pivot with even a tinge of hype and talent has had trouble. In fact looking back it seems nothing has been the same since the Walton fiasco. The Red Sox had the Bambino, we have the curse of the Big Redhead.

For those who are feeling sick to their stomachs today, let me declare something: If there is a curse it will not take hold here. This is a new day. These players are too wonderful and talented, this team is too well-run, and the future is far too rosy for even the worst curse to overcome. In fact right here, right now we’re going to reverse, disperse, override, dispel, and otherwise abjure any bad juju that’s hanging around this team or its big men. That’s right…you and I, Blazer fans, we’re going to do it. We owe Greg that at least.

Here’s how it’s going to work. You’re going to write “Disperse the Curse” on a piece of paper. You can also make drawings, stitch embroidery, make macaroni pictures, or whatever you want. Draw a picture of Oden dunking over six opposing centers from different teams all at once. Paint Walton’s foot and Bowie’s leg with big red circle “NO” signs through them. Write a poem, write vows of victory, or just leave the page blank except for the dispersal sentence. If you have old Walton bobblehead dolls or locks of Shawn Kemp hair or Qyntel Woods trading cards or things that you suspect are bringing bad memories or bad juju you can throw those in too.

Take your piece of paper (and whatever else) and mail it to:

Blazersedge Curse Removal Department
c/o Dave
P.O. Box 125
Genesee, ID 83832

In a week or so after enough stuff has accumulated I am going to take it all out to the backyard, burn it, and let the smoke rise to the heavens and drift away, symbolizing the removal of the old juju and our ascending hopes for Greg’s knee and the future.

Now, I don’t believe the Blazers would like Z-Bo back. I don’t even believe it matters if they lose more games this year. But there’s no question going an entire season without the big man is a huge bump in their evolution, since the whole point was to see how Aldridge, Roy and Oden played together.

On the other hand, as a team that wants to model itself after the Spurs (with a GM who came from there), maybe this is their “David Robinson injury” moment. It was already kind of a no-lose situation for them this year – either they were gonna surprise people by competing for a low-end playoff spot, or they would take advantage of one final boffo draft. Now, worst-case, it just might be more boffo than they’d like (which still could have been true with Oden in the line-up anyway).

Update: A bit of harsh reality (in an otherwise optimistic and highly thoughtful post) from True Hoop:

Praise be to Amare Stoudemire. And Zach Randolph. And Jason Kidd. And the many other players who have played well after microfracture knee surgery. The only downside of what we have learned from them: a year isn’t really enough time to get back to top form, typically. (The team says full recovery typically takes six to twelve months. Name me a player who has played well six months after microfracture surgery.) I think it’s good to plan on two years, and then be pleasantly surprised when it only takes 18 months.