Regardless of the final numbers on the scoreboard or postgame stat sheet, Greg Oden considers it a victory if he’s able to walk off the basketball court under his own power and lives to play another day.

That’s why Oden had the biggest smile in the arena after he played his first NBA regular-season game in more than four years last week, despite the Miami Heat having trailed by as many as 34 points en route to a lopsided loss to the Washington Wizards.

And it’s also why Oden, the former No. 1 pick, sat in his locker three nights later after a win in Charlotte trying to look at the bright side of a clumsy, foul-riddled stint during the second game of his comeback. As Oden reflected on his first week of on-court action after spending the past three years fighting back from debilitating knee surgeries, alcohol abuse and bouts of depression, his perspective was clear.

“I’m not injured again, so it went well,” Oden said of seeing action in two of the Heat’s three games last week after sitting out since Dec. 5, 2009. “I’ve had so many injuries and so many ups and downs, you know. But it’s like I said a long time ago; for me to walk off the court and be injury-free, it’s a blessing.”

Oden enters his next week of work hoping to continue to build on those blessings.

The Heat wrap up a six-game trip Monday in Atlanta against the Hawks before they return to Miami to finish out the month with a high-profile homestand that features nationally televised games against the Lakers, Spurs (in a rematch of last season’s NBA Finals) and the Thunder.

Barring a setback, Oden could play for the first time in front of the Heat’s home fans as early as Tuesday, when the four-game homestand opens with a visit from the Boston Celtics. Understandably, the soft-spoken but massive 7-foot center hasn’t dared to look that far ahead on the schedule.

Despite being activated for all three of the Heat’s games last week, and playing short stints in two, Oden’s availability remains a day-to-day dilemma. Progress will continue to be a methodical process.

So far, so good.

Both Oden and the Heat’s training staff have been encouraged by the way his body has responded to the limited minutes he played against Washington and Charlotte. Oden goes through an extensive regimen of tests and measurements to gauge the swelling and pain in his knees before and after each workout and game. There was no mention of unexpected issues over the weekend, so it appears Oden will likely get another crack to work off some of the deep rust in his game over the coming days.

“The more he’s out there, the more confident and comfortable he’ll get,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said of Oden. “We’re not going to try to force anything with this. With Greg, it’s a specific process, with a focus on getting him to build his way back up. To know where he’s come from, and to see where he is now, you really appreciate how he’s approached everything with an absolute work mindset.”