Thunder coach Billy Donovan: Victor Oladipo can’t do anything with hand, but doesn’t need surgery

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Victor Oladipo took a nasty-looking fall last week. In four games without him, the Thunder have gone 1-3.

When is he returning?

Erik Horne of The Oklahoman:

Thunder coach Billy Donovan didn’t say Oladipo was day-to-day, but emphasized that Oladipo is “getting better and progressing.” Donovan said Oladipo “can’t do anything with his right hand right now.”

“Based on the MRI he went through, based on our medical team consulting with the doctor, there’s no need for surgery,” Donovan said. “He’s got swelling. He’s got discomfort. He has a lack of mobility. He has pain when he’s in certain positions.

“My understanding is that if he really forces this thing and tries to come back too fast, it could be something that’s going to be prolonged.”

Oladipo is shooting more (5.9 attempts per 36 minutes) and better (38.1%) than ever from beyond the arc. Add solid defense, and he’s been the two-way contributor Oklahoma City desired when trading Serge Ibaka for him. Replacement starting shooting guard Anthony Morrow provides the shooting, but his defense falls way short.

Because Oladipo usually plays with Russell Westbrook, the Thunder’s defining player, simple on-off numbers don’t accurately convey Oladipo’s impact. But splitting Westbrook’s on-off numbers into Oladipo-related subcategories reveals a clear picture. Here’s Oklahoma City’s net points per 100 possessions, per nbawowy!:

Westbrook on:

  • Oladipo on: +9.2
  • Oladipo off: +1.6

Westbrook off:

  • Oladipo on: -7.8
  • Oladipo off: -21.1

Simply, the Thunder are much better with Oladipo.

At 16-12,Oklahoma City has a four-game buffer for playoff position. But the opportunity to climb the standings and secure an easier first-round matchup is slipping with Oladipo sitting.