by Marcel Mutoni / @marcel_mutoni

There was talk of winning the League’s Most Improved Player award. He had, at last, emerged from his cocoon, and was turning into something of a leader on his team. And most importantly, for himself and his team, the word “bust” was no longer applicable.

And now, it’s all come crashing down in flames. For the second time in his short career, Greg Oden’s season has been cut short due to a major knee injury. He had successful surgery yesterday on his left knee, to repair his fractured patella.

As for the Portland Blazers, they’re trying to put on a brave face, and move on without Greg.

From the Oregonian:

Despite everything that’s gone wrong with the season thus far, Nate McMillan remains upbeat, optimistic and focused. “Not for me,” he said, when asked if it was hard staying positive. “You have to. There’s no other choice. There’s no other option. It’s not going to do any good to feel sorry for yourself. You have to go forward. Everybody’s going to try to pound you and this just gives them more reason for them to try to knock you out quicker. We have to prepare ourselves with the guys we have. We think we can win some games.

“It’s going to be tough. But it’s life. Things happen. And we have to focus on the future.”

Team owner Paul Allen summed it up best following the game on Saturday night, as he walked with his head down, totally dejected.

“These things happen in sports.”