Greg Oden's latest critic? Rapper Lil' Wayne

PORTLAND — Poor Greg Oden can't seem to catch a break.

Portland's 7-foot center has gotten off to a shaky start in his rookie season. He sprained his foot in the opener, then sat out six games. When he returned, he came off the bench.

Now starting, Portland is bringing Oden along slowly as he gets back to speed after missing all of last season because of microfracture surgery on his knee.

And still, there are some impatient fans out there who expect big things from the big No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft. Right away, if not yesterday.

One of them? Lil' Wayne.

The rapper, whose real name is Dwayne Michael Carter Jr., blogs for ESPN The Magazine's Web site.

In a recent post he wrote: "Greg Oden is a bust. He's gotta show me something, man. I don't get it. At what point in time was he dominant? I've never seen it. You've never seen it. Maybe NBA officials know something we don't. That's all I can figure. Maybe somebody on that staff has seen something we haven't. But until he shows me something, I'm gonna declare him a bust. Damn shame, too."


Give Oden some credit. He's still finding his way in the NBA. Wednesday night marked just his third start. In the Blazers' 106-68 rout of the Miami Heat, Oden had 10 points and 10 rebounds, for his fourth double-double in eight games.

He's averaging 8.5 points and 7.1 rebounds in 10 games.

"Yeah, I'm getting there. And, we played well today," Oden said after Wednesday night's victory. "It always helps when the team plays well. The next game will be another challenge, and I'll have to do it again."


MARTELL'S RETURN: Trail Blazers swingman Martell Webster is practicing on a limited basis with the team in preparation for his return.

Webster is recovering from a stress fracture in his left foot that required surgery in the preseason. He has targeted a return date of Dec. 5, when the Blazers visit defending NBA champion Celtics in Boston.

Webster's birthday is Dec. 4.


CIVIL WAR FROM AFAR: The Portland Trail Blazers will put on "Civil War Night" today when they host the New Orleans Hornets.

The annual Civil War football game between Oregon and Oregon State will be played Saturday in Corvallis. If the Beavers win, they will be off to the Rose Bowl for the first time since the 1964 season.

Fans are encouraged to wear the colors of their favorite team — and when it comes to the Civil War it seems everyone in Oregon is either a Beaver or a Duck. After the game, fans will be able to shoot a free throw on the Rose Garden court.


SPECIAL GUEST: This week the Trail Blazers welcomed 6-year-old Mustafa Ahmed Abed to a practice.

Abed lost his left leg when he was 2 years old. He recently had surgery in Portland and was fitted with a prosthetic leg with the help of a group called No More Victims.

At the team's Tualatin practice facility, Abed impressed the Blazers with some of his soccer skills.

"He is exuberant, he's courageous, and he's a fighter," said No More Victims volunteer Ned Rosch. "He survived a surgery after the attack were the doctors gave him a 1 percent chance of surviving. He survived with pain for four years until he came to Portland. He received phenomenal treatment at Doernbecher and Shriners. He's pain-free and he's just an exuberant kid."

No More Victims pursues medical sponsorships for war-injured Iraqi children with the aim of forging ties between children, their families, and communities in the United States.

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