PHILADELPHIA -- Even after seeing Miami Heat center Greg Oden on the court for the first time, the plan still remains the same.
Oden made his first appearance in more than four years Wednesday against the Washington Wizards, but the Heat are continuing to treat his comeback with patience. He did not practice Thursday at Temple University and his status is uncertain for Friday's game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
“We're going to stick with the plan,” Heat Coach Erik Spoelstra said. “The plan will be the strength training, the core work, the conditioning. If he can't do those, then we won't play him.”
Oden had six points and two rebounds in nine minutes versus the Wizards, his first action since December 2009.
“Honestly, when I was out there I didn't even think about my knee,” Oden said. “It's just a matter if they feel good. I'm not worried what's going to happen. I'm worried about just getting out there and playing.”
After practice, Oden said there was no swelling and only experienced general soreness following the game.
“It's a little sore, just like the usual,” Oden said. “Nothing I can't manage. It always gets sore after a workout or something like that. It's nothing different.”
Spoelstra offered no timetable on when Oden will become a daily player. The staff is simply enjoying the progress he has made the last five months.
“The one bright spot was Greg Oden,” Spoelstra said. “We were all very happy that he was able to get out there and compete, even for a short period of minutes. We know the struggle that he's been in and just to see the smile on his face. We allowed one guy to have a smile on his face after the game yesterday. ... That was great to see.”
Still, it appears the Heat are leaning toward resting Oden as a precaution. Oden said he is looking forward to making the next step, but willing to follow the plan.
“I got to play in the game and that's what it really is, is when you're able to battle and be out there,” Oden said. “I would love for us to win. I feel like I gave us a spark but that game is over with and move onto the next game.”
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