by Marcel Mutoni @ marcel_mutoni

Officially, Greg Oden is now a member of the Miami Heat. The 25-year old center inked a two-year deal with the back-to-back defending NBA champions, and Oden says he’s ready for the daunting task that lies ahead.

Heat team president Pat Riley admits Miami is taking a risk on the oft-injured former top draft pick, but that his upside (and low cost) were too tantalizing to pass up.

Per the press release:

“After many months of discussion, evaluations and speaking with Greg, we felt it was a perfect time for him to make his comeback and re-enter the NBA with the Miami HEAT,” said HEAT President Pat Riley. “It’s a great challenge for him. We know all about his past injuries, but we feel that there is a huge upside and the possibility of him helping us, that’s why we took the risk. We will continue his program and then we will tackle basketball issues after that.”

“I am very excited and happy to be here,” said Oden. “I’m thankful to the Miami HEAT organization for bringing me in and I’m ready to get to work.”

The Miami Heat need a reliable presence on the block in the bruising Eastern Conference, and they’re banking on Oden — who has appeared in a total of 82 career games since 2007 — to be that force. He last played during the 2009-’10 season, when the big fella started in 21 games and averaged 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.29 blocks in 24 minutes of action per night. The Heat would be thrilled if he could put up similar numbers as they go for a three-peat.

All indications are that Greg Oden is healthy and motivated to prove the doubters wrong. He’ll certainly have a massive stage to resurrect his NBA career.