SECAUCUS, NJ, Jan. 30, 2008 -- Greg Oden has been missing from the Rookie Rankings this year sort of like how the Winslows' youngest daughter, Judy, was mysteriously omitted from the last five seasons of Family Matters.

While Judy was written off the show, Oden hasn't been written into the rankings because after the No. 1 pick underwent microfracture surgery back in September, there hasn't been much to report. Rehab is pretty mundane stuff.

Line of the Week
Joakim Noah (CHI)
Jan. 23 vs. IND
14 points, 15 reb
6-9 FG, 3 stl Video

Even though the legit 7-footer hasn't suited up for a game yet this season, your e-mails still crowded my inbox, "Where's Greg? ... How's Oden doing? ... Wouldn't the Blazers be even better if G.O. was able to play?"

Now that we've come to the middle of the season and the rosters for the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge have been announced, today is as good as time as any to catch up with Oden and see how the early front-runner for the 2009 Rookie of the Year is doing.

Dave: How are you feeling right now? How's your health?

Greg: My health is great. I'm starting to do a lot more stuff on the court. I feel good, my spirits are high. I'm still kind of disappointed that I can't play, but everything else besides me not being able to play is fine, it's perfect.

Dave: I read a quote where you said that your shirt is "one half a hot dog away from bustin'" because you've added so much upper body strength. I guess there is a silver lining to your injury because you've got to add some strength that's going to help you next season.

Greg: I've been in the weight room a lot because I don't really have much else to do besides lift. It's something I like to do. You know, the guys have an hour and a half practice and I'm done with my rehab in 20 or 25 minutes, so what else can I do with my time other than do a lot of ab work or a lot of upper-body lifting? I can't really run yet. I'm starting right now to do a lot on the bike and the Elliptical to try to lose some fat and some weight so when I do get on the court it won't be as strenuous on my knee.

Dave: People were a little concerned because they heard the figure come out that you gained 20 pounds. Obviously you gained a lot of muscle, but you're a big guy and with not being able to run, is weight gain just a natural thing that's gonig to occur during the rehab process?

Greg: Yeah, but it's not like I'm super big at all or to the point where you would get nervous. I actually look good. I look like I should be ready to play in the NBA right now.

Dave: Now you've had your own unique rookie experience, and you have your teammate Taurean Green who's been on the bench most of this year and your other teammate Josh McRoberts who was assigned to the D-League ... Do you guys talk about how even though you're all rookies on the same team, you've gone through very different experiences so far?

Greg: We've never really sat down and talked about it, but we do all notice it. We all are doing different things. Unfortunately Josh isn't here right now, but me and Taurean are and we see each other and when we're around each other we hang out a lot. So, I mean, we're pretty close and we know we've all going through different experiences but it's a long journey and we're going to keep on working at it.

Dave: And your teammates from last year at Ohio State, Mike Conley and Daequan Cook, they're two other guys going through their own rookie journeys. Have you stayed in touch with them?

Greg: Yeah, I talk to those guys. We were just in Miami a couple weeks ago so I was staying at Daequan's house and I talk to Mike every now and then. It was hard for me when it was one week, or two weeks in a row, where both those guys were starting. For me, it was like, "Man, they're both starting and I was drafted first and I'm not even going to be able to play (this season)."

Dave: Coach McMillan has been taking you on road trips and has wanted you to check out guys like Shaquille O'Neal and Dwight Howard and Kevin Garnett to see what they do and see how they dominate the game. Has that been beneficial to you?

Greg: It is. Just to see guys who are dominating the game and see what they're doing, I can look at it and see what personally I can do. It's always good to learn, so being able to see what they do and take something from them is going to help me and my game.

Dave: I need to ask you about the hair. You're growing it out a little bit? You got a little mini-fro going on there?

Greg: (Laughing) I got a little mini-fro. It's one of those things that's not a big deal to me. When I grew out my beard people always say something, but I'm like, "It's just a beard. It's just hair."

Dave: You're no longer a teenager, so you can't get the, "You look much older than a teenager" jokes anymore. Happy birthday on being 20-years old. How was that? Any celebration?

Greg: Actually, it was nothing big. No celebration. On my birthday we were in New Orleans and I had an appearance with Spalding and I went to the Boys & Girls Club and I met some little kids. They actually surprised me with a birthday cake, so it was fun to just be there and be around the little kids on my birthday.

Dave: We're dot-commers here and we're always on the Internet and it's been nice that you've kept up with your blog. Do you enjoy blogging? Is it an escape for you?

Greg: I mean, it's something I do just to get some things off my chest. I don't do it all of the time. They want me to do like three a week and I'm like, "Nah, I'm way too busy for that." But, every once in a while when I can get to it, maybe once a week, is when I feel like writing something. It may not be that long, but you know, it's something to get a little bit of what's going on in my life off my chest.

Dave: In your most-recent blog post you talk about one of your friends who passed away. Was that a tough thing to go through, the anniversary of that?

Greg: It was really tough. I'm just very thankful that Coach Nate allowed me to go home and surprise his family because, really, when I walked up to the door and rung the doorbell, his sister was stunned that I was there. Then I went up and his mom was in her bed crying and his dad was asleep. It was a bad day. I can hardly tell you, it was a bad day. But then we went out to eat and it was just like their spirits just lifted up. That was one of the most personal blogs I've ever written, but that was something that really means something to me.

Dave: Looking at the halfway mark of the season for the Trail Blazers, and a team that was in the lottery a year ago, now you're around a playoff-bound team it looks like. What's that been like? A lot of rookies, like the Florida guys, have to go through the transition of losing more games in the first month of the NBA season then they did during all of college. You've actually gone from a great year at Ohio State to being a part of something special in Portland. What's the run been like so far?

Greg: It's been great. I'm not a loser. I'm not a good loser at all. For these guys to be doing so well and winning, it just makes me feel a lot better, but there's also a point where I realized that I didn't really do anything to help this team out there on the court. All I can do is help myself off the court and get my knee and my body right for next year. I wish I was helping, but I'm really just "there." But, they're doing such a great job and it's fun to be around and they take that little bit of thought that I have that I'm not doing anything and they make it a lot easier for me by keeping me around and talking to me and keeping me involved.

Dave: Looking forward, what's your time frame? When do you think you'll be doing full-contact basketball up-and-down the court again? I know you said you don't plan on coming back this year and rushing it, but, when will you be back to the Greg Oden of old?

Greg: I probably won't be doing anything really hard basketball-wise until September, right before training camp. Hopefully I can get some running in and try to get in better shape this summer.

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  • Korleone Young slide of the week: J. Moon, TOR; Sean Williams, NJN (-2).
    Eddie Gottlieb rise of the week: Luis Scola, HOU (+4).

    Overall Rankings - Week 13

    1. Kevin Durant, G-F, Seattle
    4.2 2.2 0.9 1.0 .400 .280 .870
    Last Week: 1 | Drafted: 2
    On Tuesday night against the defending-champion Spurs, Durant was like a skiier who falls down multiple times on the bunny slopes and all of the sudden flawlessly whips down a black diamond. The 6-9 swingman poured in 26 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 32 seconds left, along with seven rebounds and five assists to snap the Sonics' 12-game losing streak. Despite his flaws, how many other rookies in this year's class can pull off a game like that?

    2. Al Horford, F-C, Atlanta
    40 31.4 8.9
    1.3 1.0 1.1 .482 .000 .626
    Last Week: 2 | Drafted: 3
    After Horford's impressive 10-point, 16-rebound, two-block performance on Friday in a win against the Sonics (while KD was 7-for-21 with four turnovers), I had Big Al penciled in to the No. 1 spot. Then on Tuesday, while Durant was busy beating the Spurs, Horford shot 2-for-7 against Phoenix and only played 20 minutes, saddled with five fouls, while the Hawks got blitzed by 33 points. He remains in second, if only by the slimmest of margins.

    3. Juan Carlos Navarro, G, Memphis
    45 24.9 11.0 2.3 2.1 0.6 0.0 .437
    Last Week: 5 | Drafted: 40 by Washington in 2002
    Navarro has his eyes set on All-Star Weekend, but not just for the T-Mobile Rookie Challenge on Friday night. JCN, who went 8-for-23 from downtown in four games last week, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal's Ronald Tillery that he hopes to be invited to the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout on Saturday as well.

    4. Luis Scola, F-C, Houston
    45 21.2 8.2 5.2 1.2 0.6 0.2 .497 .000 .624
    Last Week: 8 | Drafted: 56 by San Antonio in 2002
    With Yao out, the 6-9 Scola was called upon to start at center for the Rockets on Saturday and he filled in admirably, racking up 18 points and six rebounds. Scola is climbing back up the rankings as he added an 11-point, 12-rebound performance against the Blazers and 10 points vs. the Warriors in two wins.

    5. Jamario Moon, F, Toronto
    40 29.0 8.0 6.2 1.1
    1.5 .450 .278 .650
    Last Week: 3 | Drafted: Undrafted
    Moon's minutes decreased last week as Raptors coach Sam Mitchell experimented by giving more playing time to Jason Kapono, Kris Humphries and Carlos Delfino off the bench. Odysseus' (Chuck Swirsky can keep his "Apollo 33" nickname) lack of court time hasn't done anything to wane interest in his participation in the Sprite Slam Dunk. Check out The Score's Top 10 Moon Dunk Ideas. I liked No. 10, "Howling at the Moon - Dunk while wearing a werewolf costume, handed to him by Michael J. Fox."

    6. Sean Williams, C, New Jersey
    40 21.3 7.4 5.6 0.5 0.5
    .000 .632
    Last Week: 4 | Drafted: 17
    Williams played just 42 games in three years at Boston College. He is up to 40 games so far this season alone. His physical gifts are apparent, but now is the time to see if the 82-game grind will start to take its toll.

    7. Yi Jianlian, F, Milwaukee
    46 27.3 9.8 5.8 0.9 0.7 1.0 .436 .316 .827
    Last Week: 6 | Drafted: 6
    The world will be watching on Saturday when Yao and Yi meet for the second time this season. In the first bout back in November, Yi's 19 and nine weren't enough to overcome Yao's 28 and 10. Bucks Coach Larry Krystkowiak told me last night that he has, "the Chinese Super Bowl on Saturday and the American Super Bowl on Sunday."

    8. Mike Conley, G, Memphis
    19 26.2 8.8 2.5
    0.9 0.1 .446 .286 .708
    Last Week: 7 | Drafted: 4
    The injury bug hit Conley again, this time in the form of a chest contusion and rib injury sustained on Friday against the Wizards. It looks like the first-year point guard will have to fight his way back into the rotation as Kyle Lowry has averaged 19 points, 6.5 rebounds, four assists and 1.5 steals in the two games since Conley went out.

    9. Al Thornton, F, L.A. Clippers
    38 20.0 8.6 3.3 0.8 0.5 0.4 .418 .319 .697
    Last Week: 10 | Drafted: 14
    Thornton had 23 points and nine rebounds in a win against Sacramento last week and proceded to amass 22 points and five rebounds in his next three games combined, all Clippers losses. He has the talent and the NBA body needed to make a push for the top five, but consistency is still an issue.

    10. Jeff Green, F, Seattle
    45 24.5 8.5 4.5 1.3 0.4 0.6 .421 .091 .697
    Last Week: 9 | Drafted: 5 by Boston
    Green is dangling precariously from the top 10 and falling into The Next 10 after scoring just 11 points on 4-for-16 shooting in four games last week. Gary Washburn of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer suggests that Green returning to his role as the Sonics' sixth man might help the rookie break out of his funk.
    RED = Rookie Leader (Must Qualify)

    The Next 10 (alphabetical order): Corey Brewer (MIN), Aaron Brooks (HOU), Daequan Cook (MIA), Glen Davis (BOS), Carl Landry (HOU), Joakim Noah (CHI), Jason Smith (PHI), Rodney Stuckey (DET), Nick Young (WAS), Thaddeus Young (PHI)



    Add Thaddeus Young (PHI) to the list of rookies from the 2007 draft who have a blog. Greg Oden, Josh McRoberts, Al Horford and Morris Almond have company.
    Dominic McGuire (WAS) has yet to crack 10 total assists, steals or blocks for his career yet, but he reached double-digit rebounds in one night, hauling in 10 boards on Wednesday vs. the Raptors.
    Carl Landry (HOU) has continued his strong play, averaging 8.0 points and 5.3 rebounds in four games last week as he vaulted into The Next 10.
    Ian Mahinmi (SAS) was recalled from the Austin Toros, while Jeremareo Davidson (CHA) was assigned to the D-League's Sioux Falls Skyforce and Cheikh Samb (DET) was re-assigned to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.
    The HNPAMY (Have Not Played A Minute Yet) Club: Herbert Hill** (PHI), Greg Oden** (POR), Ramon Sessions* (MIL), Marcin Gortat* (ORL), JamesOn Curry* (CHI) and Adam Haluska** (NOH)
    * = assigned to the D-League
    ** = injured

    Got beef with the rankings or have a comment or question for the Rookie Report? Send the Report an e-mail.