By Randy Renner
By the second half, maybe even the second quarter, the Oklahoma City Thunder will look a lot more like the Oklahoma City Blue. Only six Thunder roster players are healthy enough to participate in tonight's game.
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, noting you have to start someone, will go with camp invitee Lance Thomas (6-8, 225) at power forward in place of Serge Ibaka who is still out with a sprained ankle. Perry Jones, just recovered from one of those and a sore knee, will start in place of Kevin Durant at small forward, but because of his own injury issues won't play much tonight. Andre Roberson gets his third straight start of the preseason at shooting guard and may have that job locked up for the regular season. Steven Adams gets his third straight start at center and probably also has that spot locked up for later, whether Kendrick Perkins is healthy or not and Russell Westbrook will go at point guard.
Nick Collison and Reggie Jackson are also out and Brooks said this evening, "Reggie may be out for some time," with that bruised wrist so Jeremy Lamb could see some action at point guard during the preseason. Tonight camp invitee Mike Jenkins will be Westbrook's backup.
The injuries have gotten ridiculous and the team is so shorthanded Brooks joked, "I'm on the blue team and we play zone," during practices.
A little more seriously Brooks said, "You improvise, you adjust, you play a lot of 3-on-3. You can't worry about who you don't have."
At the other end of the hallway Memphis coach Dave Joerger is in high cotton, "camp's been good, nobody's gotten hurt."
Joerger will go with his regular starting lineup Mike Conley, Courtney Lee, Tayshaun Prince, Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol though he said Z-Bo and Gasol probably wouldn't play much and neither would Conley.
It should be an adventure tonight and look nothing like any Thunder-Grizzlies game you've seen.
Click back after the game, we'll post a wrapup video featuring comments from Coach Brooks and the players.