The 7-foot Oden – the 2005-06 national high school basketball player of the year out of Indianapolis (Ind.) Lawrence North – suffered a torn ligament in his right wrist towards the end of his final prep season and underwent surgery last month. (He is right-handed.)
"I really can't do anything with my right wrist," Oden said. "I've been lifting with my legs and my left, and I've been shooting a lot with my left. But no contact, and no pressure on my right wrist at all."
Oden was asked how long he thinks he will be out.
"Well, I get another surgery to get the screws out of my wrist and I get that surgery, and then the recovery time after that," he said. "I'll have that surgery in about six months." (It was unclear if Oden meant six weeks instead of six months. Originally, he was expected to be out a total of four or five months, roughly October or November.)
Oden was asked for his initial reaction when he learned that he needed surgery.
"I was pretty mad," he said. "But then I realized I'd rather get it out the way now than later."
Oden talked about the worst part of the injury.
"Just that it is going to take so much time," he said. "I see the guys working out and playing in open gyms and I want to get out there and play with them and be a part of the team. I mean, I do some things, but I can't do it all and I just want to be out there competing and getting ready for the next level in college."
Ohio State head coach Thad Matta was at the hospital when Oden went under the knife.
"He told me it would be OK," Oden said. "He didn't really say much. He came and left before I got out. He was in there before I went in and just told me that it was good to get it over with now and just good luck."
Oden, who weighs 245 pounds, says he is having no trouble eating despite the injury. It makes it a little more difficult to cut steaks, but he is getting by.
"Oh I eat everything," he said. "It really doesn't matter. Injury or not, I'm going to eat and I'm going to get the food down whether it's right-handed or left-handed."
Oden watched the 2006 NBA draft and couldn't help but think that he could have been the No. 1 pick – and not Italian star Andrea Bargnani – if not for the NBA's new age restriction. (As Ohio State fans in unison applaud the NBA for its wise decision.)
"I tried not to think about it, but I had everyone there who was watching it with me saying, ‘Greg you would have done this and you would have done that' and I was just like, ‘Whatever. Give me more chips.'"
Oden was an honor student in high school and was asked what class he is looking forward to the most at OSU.
"What class? Sleep 101," he joked. "No, I really don't know yet. I want to major in finance, so I'm looking forward to my math classes and getting accepted to the business school at Ohio State."
Oden was asked what factors would make him consider coming back to OSU for his sophomore season?
"Education," he said. "If a guy was to leave after one year and wants to come back (and get his degree) it would be much longer. So, you want to stay as long as you can and get your education. But you know that you also want to do the best thing for you. So, that's just a decision that is going to come when the time is right."
Since Oden could be out until January, he was asked if he had considered redshirting at OSU in 2006-07. (No, seriously, he was asked that.)
"Not really," he said. "Right now the only big guy that we have is Matt Terwilliger. And he's a four and he tells me every day, ‘Greg, you are playing no matter what.' So, I'm like, ‘No, I can't.' You know, we've got to come back and hopefully move Matt to the four and I'll play his position and he'll feel more comfortable and hopefully we can get the chemistry together and win a national championship."
As a freshman, Oden was asked if he had received any good-natured ribbing from his teammates yet?
"Nothing really bad," he said. "I got in the shower one day and Ron Lewis kicked me out because I was using his shower. But Jamar Butler and Matt Terwilliger have been really cool. They take us out to eat and stuff and all the guys are real cool there."
Finally, Oden was asked what "sold" him on OSU.
"I love the coaches there," he said. "And the players are really cool. And the distance away from Indianapolis. I've been there for three weeks and I love it there and it's been the best decision for me to make."