By Randy Renner
Thunder center Steven Adams didn't seem much worse for wear after being poked in the eye Sunday night against Denver. The tough guy from down under had to leave Sunday's game but he was back at practice on Monday and is expected the play tonight at Utah.
"Yeah he's fine," head coach Billy Donovan said after yesterday's practice. "He responded really well to treatment and his vision is good so he's cleared to play."
The news isn't as good for forward Mitch McGary who sustained a concussion Friday night in Memphis when he collided with Matt Barnes. McGary did not practice Monday and did not make the trip to Salt Lake City.
"He's got to continue to go through the baseline testing to see where he's at," Donovan said. "He's getting better, it's just hard with these concussions and you wanna be really, really safe and careful."
Barring a setback McGary should be able to practice later in the week and should be ready in time for the San Antonio Spurs on Opening Night.
Jazz Will Become Very Familiar
The Thunder finish up the pre-season portion of their schedule tonight against the Utah Jazz and then will play Utah three times in the regular season before Christmas.
The Jazz are 2-3 and have hopes of contending for a playoff spot. They've been up and down in the pre-season but they've tended to struggle on offense. They're shooting just 40.2 percent overall (27th) and 31.7 percent on 3-pointers while scoring 96.8 points.
They've been much better on the defensive end where they're allowing opponents to score 98.0 points on just 41.0 percent shooting overall and 31.8 percent from deep.
As with Denver, whom the Thunder play the third game of the regular season, Donovan and his coaches have scouted Utah a bit more extensively and as he did in the Nuggets game Donovan is planning to approach this game as a sort of dress rehearsal for the regular season with starters getting the bulk of the minutes.
"We're probably gonna go into this game with a similar mindset as with Denver but some of that could be altered."
Donovan said a couple of guys "have bumps and bruises," and could be held out tonight.
“I’m always reluctant to say, ‘this is what we’re doing’,” Donovan continued. “It’s important as a coach, for myself, to keep all of these guys really engaged. They’re all important. At some point they’re going to bring value and add value at different points in time during the season.”
Donovan may also switch up his rotation a little bit. Sunday against Denver Kyle Singler was the first man off the bench replacing starting shooting guard Andre Roberson. Tonight Donovan could just as easily go with Dion Waiters, who had another hot night Sunday, or even Enes Kanter who is sure to be fired up playing his old team.
“The biggest thing for me as a coach is letting these guys know they’re appreciated and valued,” Donovan explained. “At some point in time, everybody is going to contribute in one fashion or another.”
Tipoff is set for 8 o'clock Oklahoma time and the game will not be televised locally.