Updates from Wednesday, March 26
Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman has the latest on Kendrick Perkins' return to the Thunder lineup:
It appears the groin injury to Kendrick Perkins is worse than originally anticipated. The starting center for the Oklahoma City Thunder must undergo surgery to repair the issue and will miss six weeks as a result.
Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman first reported the news:
The Thunder later confirmed the news on their Twitter account:
Perkins only played eight minutes in a loss to the Miami Heat on Feb. 20 before leaving with the injury. Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman previously noted that the veteran would miss at least a week with the issue after the MRI revealed a strained groin.
Unfortunately, it now appears that the ailment will keep him out for more than a month.
Perkins has struggled offensively this season, averaging only 3.4 points in 19.7 minutes per game. If this holds, it would be his lowest mark since his second year in the league.
Still, the 11-year veteran has made a career as a great low-post defender thanks to his size and solid technique down low. After a January win over the Portland Trail Blazers, superstar Kevin Durant had this to say about the big man, via News9.com's Kevin Kuzminski:
A lot of you guys don't know the small things he does for us. His intelligence on both ends of the floor and to hit a huge shot like that, especially a jump shot…I heard a lot of people screaming "NO" as he shot it…he just has so much confidence in hisself and we have so much confidence in him. That was a huge shot. He played hard defense all game and to see him get rewarded with that is pretty special. I ride with Perk 'til the wheels fall off and I'm glad he hit that shot.
Slater also notes that the Thunder have not fared well when Perkins is out of the lineup:
Despite these issues, Oklahoma City will have to compete without its starting center for the next six weeks, with his return likely coming just before the end of the season.
This will put a lot of pressure on rookie center Steven Adams, according to Jeff Caplan of NBA.com:
The former Pittsburgh star was the 12th overall pick in the most recent draft, and he has shown a decent amount of potential in his short time in the league. He has had limited production in 14.2 minutes per game this season, but he has the size and athleticism necessary to succeed.
He will need to use this opportunity to fill in for Perkins and truly shine.
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