Greg Oden has been patient to this point. He said he isn't about to change now even as the Miami Heat prepare to open training camp Tuesday in the Bahamas.

Out of the league since Dec. 2009 due to a series of knee issues the 7-foot center has been working at AmericanAirlines Arena for nearly two months. In an interview with the Sun Sentinel on the eve of camp he stressed that patience remains prudent.

"Really for me I'm happy being on the court and playing and getting back into the thick of basketball" he said at a promotional appearance at the offices of Shelling Orthodontics and Maye Pediatric Dentistry an event which also served as a fundraiser for the Udonis Haslem Children's Foundation.

"I bang a little bit still taking it slow. I'm taking steps. So I do a little bit do a little bit of up and down but we're not trying to wear out the knee. We're trying to make sure I can do a little bit and the next day I can do something too."

For now trainers Jay Sabol and Rey Jaffet are as much a part of the process in the Oden assessments as the coaching staff.

"I'm working every day. I'm doing what I can" Oden said before signing hundreds of autographs. "And when Rey and Jay say I can go full go that's when it's time."

Haslem before stepping in to sign his share of autographs said Oden has offered a taste of the possibilities during the informal August and September workouts.