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Agent says Greg Oden wants to play for the Miami Heat

May 16, 2012, 10:45 AM EDT

Greg Oden Getty Images

Greg Oden hasn’t fully given up on playing in the NBA.

He’s knows he is a long, long way from there, and said he plans to take next season off to recover and rehab from a third microfracture surgery. He seems more comfortable than ever with the possibility it might never work out.

Just don’t tell his agent that.

His agent was talking with the Miami Herald and upping the timeline on Oden’s potential return and saying if Oden returns he wants to play for the Heat. Of course he does.

But his agent, Mike Conley Sr., told us Oden is positioned be ready to play in December or January “as far as being effective and in shape” and will explore options in the coming months, with the possibility of joining a team next season. But nobody obviously can know for sure when he will be ready.

The Heat hasn’t called but “Greg has talked about Miami,” Conley said. “He has interest. He’s not retiring.”

Spoken like a true agent.

I’m no doctor, but a year away from the court just rehabbing his knee seems prudent. Then make the call. I’d root for Oden to return, just because he seems a genuinely good guy who has had his body betray him. But basketball needs to be second to health for him now.

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