The last time Andre Roberson stepped on an NBA court it was Jan. 17, 2018, in Detroit. It was a game that showed what he brought to that Oklahoma City team: Roberson had 5 points shooting 2-of-2, but he was +32 in his 25 minutes because of his elite defense and fit with the core group. He made that team better.
After two years of injuries and rehab, Roberson is back on the practice court with the Thunder in Orlando for the NBA restart. Here is what teammates were saying on the zoom conference calls from practice (via Royce Young of ESPN).
“Man, it’s the best thing ever,” Chris Paul said. “I used to have to fry Dre back in the day when I was on another team and he was the stopper for the Thunder.”
“He looked really, really good in terms of the way he was moving,” coach Billy Donovan said. “It was great to see him out there. I was really happy for him. But like we’ve talked about in the past, we’ll see how he can continue to build up and develop here over the next week, but he was out there today and he participated in everything.”
Danilo Gallinari on Andre Roberson: “He’s doing great. I’m very happy to see him play because I know what it means to be out for that long with a bad injury. Just to see the joy and energy he brings to the team, it’s great to see him out there with us.”
— Erik Horne (@ErikkHorne) July 10, 2020
Andre Roberson suffered a ruptured patellar tendon back in January of 2018, then had multiple setbacks and challenges in his recovery. His initial timeline had him back before Christmas in the 2018-19 season, instead he is just now getting on the court, something that was both mentally challenging as well as physically.
It wouldn’t be fair to expect big minutes, or the All-Defensive Team level player, we saw from Roberson in the past. How Roberson will fit in with this Thunder team remains to be seen.
But just having him on the court should be a boost for the Thunder.