By Randy Renner, Senior Writer
What was first described by the Thunder as a “tweaked ankle” has now turned into a broken foot for backup point guard Cameron Payne.
Payne limped off the John Marshall High School basketball floor during the Blue/White scrimmage Tuesday night. He was examined by trainer Joe Sharpe, team physician Dr. Donnie Strack and team orthopedist Dr. Carlan Yates.
Payne complained about his ankle and it’s not totally clear if doctors realized at the time, or even if Payne did, that the real problem was his little toe, not his ankle.
The injury is officially being called an acute impact fracture of the fifth metatarsal on the right foot. Payne will consult with foot specialists to determine what happens next. Payne had Jones’ fracture surgery on the same foot over the summer and had been cleared to play. This injury is not believed to be directly related to the surgery.
“I feel bad for Cameron or any player who gets hurt and had to sit out,” head coach Billy Donovan said after Thursday’s practice session. “He’s in great hands here and his spirits seem to be pretty good but anytime someone gets hurt and doesn’t get to do something they love you always feel bad about that.”
It’s not clear how much time Payne could miss, but for sure he’ll be out the rest of training camp and perhaps the first month or so of the season.
More than likely Donovan will move veteran point guard Ronnie Price up to the backup role and Semaj Christon and even Victor Oladipo could also more of a look at that position.
“We have camp to look at a lot of different things,” Donovan said. “Whether it be Ronnie, or Victor, Semaj, whoever it may be back there behind Russell. So we have some options.”
With Christon though, the options are limited. The Thunder already have more guaranteed contracts on the roster (16) than they are allowed when the regular season begins (15).
Someone was going to lose their job anyway (probably Mitch McGary) but if it's determined Christon needs to stay up with the Thunder instead of going down to the OKC Blue, the Thunder will need to dump another contract to make room, either by waiving a player or making a trade.
Donovan and his coaches have most all of training camp left in order to make a decision, in fact it was something they’d already been thinking about.
“Cam was still kinda workin’ his way back and may not have been in a position by the first game to be ready to be where he was before (the Jones’ fracture).”
It’s not clear yet if Payne will be on the plane when the Thunder leave for Spain on Friday though it would certainly seem unlikely.