Blazers admonish Oden after hearing he played in pickup games

Updated: March 28, 2008, 5:48 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Trail Blazers rookie Greg Oden participated in a pickup basketball game at a fitness facility in Tualatin, Ore., on Wednesday night, the Oregonian reported.

"We heard about that, and I talked to him today," coach Nate McMillan said. "I let him know he can't do that."

Oden is in the sixth month of his rehabilitation from microfracture surgery on his right knee. He is on schedule to return in time for training camp in October. Oden has been cleared to participate in light drills at practice and the team wants to control his running and jumping.

"I know he is excited to be moving again, but as I talked to him about it he said 'Coach, I promise I wasn't running hard ...'. And I was like -- 'I really don't care',"' McMillan said. "The thing is, we were surprised. So we let him know that he doesn't need to be there. We have plenty of workout equipment and gym space at our facility."

After Oden took part in two pickup games Wednesday night, one of the participants went home and posted an account on the Internet. By Thursday morning, word had gotten back to the Blazers, who were in Oakland, Calif., for a game against Golden State. McMillan said he then called Oden.

"Right now, these young guys don't know their value," McMillan said. "That's part of growing up and maturing. In a couple of years he will understand how stupid that was. I understand it, because I've done it.''