The Thunder have been hit hard by the injury bug before the season has even begun, but if there’s a bright side to their situation, it’s that everything should be resolved after only a month’s worth of games have been played.
Kevin Durant suffering that foot fracture is of course the most serious threat to OKC’s season, but rookies and role players are going down too — making the first part of the season for the Thunder far more challenging than was originally expected.
Anthony Morrow was signed to a three-year deal this summer to provide reliable shooting in a reserve role. He may have seen some time as a starter with Durant out, but that won’t be happening now due to Morrow suffering an injury of his own.
From Royce Young of ESPN.com:
Oklahoma City Thunder guard Anthony Morrow will miss the start of the regular season because of a left MCL sprain suffered at practice Thursday, the team announced.
Morrow is set to be evaluated in a week but the typical recovery time is four to six weeks, the Thunder said Friday. …
With Durant out, Morrow was a strong candidate to slot into the Thunder’s starting five at shooting guard. Along with Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams, Morrow started the final three preseason games. Now, coach Scott Brooks will be forced to reconsider his starting group again, likely turning to either Jackson, Perry Jones orJeremy Lamb to fill the role.
Durant’s injury is obviously the most impactful, as it will cause the Thunder to rely more heavily on Russell Westbrook, and will force the seldom-used guys into more prominent roles where production is expected.
Overall, though, if the timelines are to be believed, OKC should ultimately be just fine. The Thunder are in a conference finals or bust mode these days, and while a lower playoff seed may result from missing key rotation players early in the season, there will remain plenty of time for a healthy squad to come together and contend as originally planned.