James Harden (ankle) and Nick Collison (groin) are both out tonight against the Hornets. Big blow to the Thunder’s depth.
Harden has been having a career season, and has been making a strong case for the 6th Man of the Year Award. The #3 overall pick in 2009 has been averaging 16.8 points and 4.1 assists per game in 31.6 minutes per game this season, and his PER is a career-high 21.13. Collison has been a valuable defender off the bench for the Thunder, and has averaged 4.5 points and 4.1 rebounds in 20.5 minutes per game this season.
The Thunder should still be able to handle the Hornets without Harden and Collison available off the bench, but will need them back as soon as possible, as they are set to play the Celtics, the Lakers, the 76ers, and the Magic directly after they face the struggling Hornets.
Today in ultra-miserable Greg Oden news: Greg Oden is going to have microfracture surgery for the 3rd time
Wow, this is terrible. According to the Oregonian’s Jason Quick, Blazers center and 2007 #1 overall pick Greg Oden is going to have to undergo microfracture surgery on his left knee, which will be his 2nd microfracture surgery on that knee since Oden came into the NBA. Oden has also undergone microfracture surgery and his right knee and fractured his left patella since entering the NBA, which he did after playing with a broken right wrist throughout much of his one year at Ohio State.
Needless to say, Oden is out for the rest of this season, and will, even in a best-case scenario, miss much of the 2012-13 season. Oden has only played in 82 games since being drafted, and hasn’t played an NBA minute since December 5th, 2009. This is the part of the Greg Oden injury story where we remind everyone that Oden has shown great promise when he’s actually been on the court and is still only 24 years old, but the chances of Oden’s knees forcing him to retire before he gets a shot at a legitimate NBA career are looking greater and greater.
When asked about Oden, Blazers team president Larry Miller said “It’s hard to put into words the heartbreak for everyone involved.” We wish Oden as speedy a recovery as possible, and hope we haven’t seen the last of such a promising young center on an NBA court.
Friday video: Happy Birthday, MJ. Thanks for the dunks.
Michael Jordan, who really should need no introduction, turns 49 years old today. To commemorate that and the upcoming Slam Dunk Contest, here’s a highlight video of 3 of Jordan’s Slam Dunk Contest Performances — his duels with Dominique “The Human Highlight Film” Wilkins, one of which he won and one of which he lost, and his win over Jerome Kersey the year ‘Nique was injured.
All three contests feature Jordan taking off from the free-throw line, and the first contest features him doing it while wearing some gold chains. These dunks probably wouldn’t score high in next Saturday’s contest, but something tells me that Chase Budinger and Iman Shumpert aren’t going to generate the kind of electricity and buzz than MJ and ‘Nique did in their classic late-80s dunk-offs.