Originally posted on Crossover Chronicles  |  Last updated 12/5/11

Just when it seemed Portland Trail Blazers still had to continue to have their patience tested when it came to Greg Oden and his seemingly never-ending health issues, comes a report Oden might be back on the court by next week.

Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden could be cleared to return to practice next week.

Oden will be examined Thursday by Dr. Richard Steadman, who performed the most recent surgery on the 7-footer in November 2010.

This is a huge step in an otherwise long, disappointing pro-career for Oden. But this news should give fans and Blazers management hope. Not to mention could added justification for the Blazers' recent offer of a one-year, $8.8 million qualifying offer in June, which makes him a restricted free agent.

In addition, this news should also help teams that might be looking at him as a possible center. Case in point, the Miami Heat who are reportedly looking at Oden to fill their lack of a center.

But Portland or any other team looking at him will have to tread lightly. This is Oden we are talking about and no matter what he did when he actually played for the Blazers (a 13 point, 20 rebound game before his last injury) the spectre of doubt about his health will always hang above his head.

Something which might forever haunt his career even if they day comes when he is finally cleared to play.

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This article first appeared on Crossover Chronicles and was syndicated with permission.

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