Eight Players Out Tonight With Injuries
By Randy Renner
The Thunder will be very shorthanded tonight against the big uglies from Memphis, eight players are on the injured list and will not play when the Thunder play their first home preseason game.
That means OKC will be able to use only 10 guys and you might not have ever even heard of four of those 10.
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks had hoped Serge Ibaka would be able to get on the court tonight but his sprained ankle isn't quite back to normal so he won't play. Joining Ibaka in street clothes will be Kevin Durant, Nick Collison, Reggie Jackson, Kendrick Perkins, Mitch McGary, Sebastian Telfair and Grant Jerrett.
The only regular roster guys available tonight will be Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb, Anthony Morrow and Steven Adams.
So thank goodness for those guys you don't know Michael Jenkins (a point guard), Richard Soloman (a 6-10 forward who just came off the injury list himself), Lance Thomas (a 6-8 forward) and Talib Zanna (a 6-8 forward).
For Brooks, who's not only trying to figure out a starting lineup for tonight but one going forward into the regular season and rotations and all that this ongoing injury news doesn't make a difficult job any easier.
One of the camp guys may very well get a start tonight at one of the forward positions. Brooks doesn't usually talk to reporters after shootarounds and he didn't today so hard to know what he's thinking (other than we need to get some guys healthy).
You figure Westbrook at the point, Adams at center and then probably Jones at power forward, Roberson at small forward and Lamb at shooting guard. Bring Morrow off the bench.
But it doesn't really matter they all (except for Westbrook) probably figure to play quite a bit tonight and I'd give Lamb the start just to see what he can do coming off a pretty game in Dallas the other night (19 points, 11 rebounds). With KD out Roberson might get some time in the regular season at small forward so see what he can do there.
But yikes, this is getting ridiculous.
Adams and Z-Bo Should Be Fun
Remember last season in the playoffs when Adams and Zach Randolph got into it a little bit? Z-Bo got so frustrated going up against Adams he punched him in the face, got ejected and then suspended.
Randolph told reporters in Memphis on Monday, "“Honestly, I feel like that was his whole plan and I fell for it,” Randolph said. “I take responsibility. I’m too old for that…to get me off of my game and I went for it. It bothered me all summer. That was their plan. I mean, seven players have gotten suspended because of him. You’ve got to look into that. Why are players getting into it with this particular guy?”
So after shootaround I asked Steven if he had some grand scheme last season to sucker Z-Bo into doing something stupid?
"No not at all I was just playing hard."
And I think that's what gets to some of these guys. Adams plays very hard and when an opponent takes exception and shoves him, or punches him, Adams doesn't retaliate like most other players would. He generally keeps his cool and walks away.
"it's always fun playing Memphis, just in general, you know they've got the big dudes, you know Z-Bo and Marc Gasol and really it's just their whole team they're just real hard nosed players. So I think it's really good for our to play them, especially in the preseason just to understand how physical the game really is because they're as physical as it comes."
That matchup, for however long it lasts tonight, might be the most intriguing thing to watch in this game.
Tipoff will be just after 7 o'clock tonight, there will be no TV for this game but be sure to check out our twitter feed page here on InsideThunder.com for game updates and we will have a video wrapup afterwards featuring Brooks and players.