Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 11/30/11

Even if the NBA season gets underway on Christmas Day, Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden will not be ready to play.

The oft-injured Oden is not expected to return to the court until January at the earliest.

He has not played since fracturing his left patella in December 2009. The 7-footer underwent microfracture knee surgery in November 2010.

The top overall pick in the 2007 draft, Oden has been besieged by injuries. He missed the entire 2007-08 season with a right knee injury that required microfracture surgery and chipped his left kneecap in February 2009.

In all, Oden has played just 82 of a possible 328 games in his career. He has averaged 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks.

The Trail Blazers extended Oden a one-year, $8.8 million qualifying offer in June, making him a restricted free agent.

Oden must decide whether to accept the offer for the upcoming season and become a free agent in 2012, try to work out a long-term contract extension or see if another team signs him to an offer sheet during the NBA free-agent period that is expected to begin Dec. 9.

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