Greg Oden is alive! And back on a basketball court. And even better, he was active and looked perfectly healthy and like a player worth watching and giving minutes to. It was nice to see. Here’s Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel:

Greg Oden

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra refused to tip his hand Wednesday morning. Wednesday night he played his trump card.

For the first time in nearly four years, Greg Oden appeared in an NBA game, when the hulking center checked in with 5:15 to play in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s 108-95 exhibition victory over New Orleans Pelicans at New Orleans Arena.

“It’s been a long time,” Oden exulted in the locker room afterward. “It’s been a long road for me, just to get that off my back, my first step tonight.”

Teammates were even more emotional.

“It was a very special moment,” forward LeBron James said. “I have no idea what my feelings would be like being away from the game for three years, and it was a proud moment. I was so excited for him when he got on the court and checked in.

“I might have to toast this for him. I ain’t no drinker, but I might have to take a shot for him.”