The Oklahoma City Thunder return home to Oklahoma City to take on the Memphis Grizzlies after going 2-2 on the road trip. The OKC Thunder will do so short-handed as we near the NBA Trade Deadline in just a few hours at tip-off, this game will be interesting for a multitude of reasons. However, more interesting than the game or even the NBA Trade Deadline is the 12:30 NBA Injury Report for the Thunder.
The Thunder announced on the Injury Report that star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be OUT tonight against Memphis with a right foot injury, plantar fasciitis. SGA was not on the 7:30 Injury Report last night, but a surprise on this afternoon’s report. I am no doctor, but the reaction I have received is that this type of injury is one you do not want to mess with. Mark Daigneault will update those of us in the media at 5:15 central time today, this story will be updated with his quotes and follow along live on Twitter. The Thunder will also be without George Hill (Thumb), Darius Bazley (Shoulder), and Josh Hall (Knee).
In this game, Memphis will only be without Jaren Jackson Jr, who is still recovering from a previous injury. The last time these two teams met, the Thunder were incredibly short-handed, playing SGA with a glorified OKC Blue group, and still came away with a win. Now, these two teams square off again in OKC and the Thunder are healthier than they were, but now missing their star in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
With the Trade Deadline less than 24-hours away, monitor the minutes of those players who are on the trading block. Per the Injury report, Al Horford is active tonight, as are Kenrich Williams, Mike Muscala, and Justin Jackson, all names that would not be jaw-dropping to see Sam Presti move. Williams has received conflicting reports from two respected NBA Media Members on if he will stay or go, and either outcome by Presti would be praised. He is in the ultimate win-win scenario with Williams, but keep tabs on his minutes played tonight as just a fun storyline to follow.
The Thunder find themselves as six and a half point underdogs at home to Memphis who is on a two-game winning streak and 5-5 in their last ten games, a feat both these teams share. Without SGA, it will be tough for OKC to steal this one, and there is something to be said for the motivation factor of Memphis who just let one slip away against OKC just a little over a week ago. However, this Thunder team continues to surprise so I am going with OKC +6.5 to try to stay perfect on Thunder bets this week…A nice rebound from March Madness. The Moneyball pick of the game is Ty Jerome to catch fire from beyond the arc.
Mark Daigneault told those of us in the media pregame, that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s foot injury “Is not Day-to-Day. This one is an injury we need to now take a look at” He adds that “The other [Times Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was listed as out] were maintenance. We were very up front about that at the time…this is what we were trying to avoid.” He finished the answer about his star guard’s health with “This makes it very tangible [Why the team was caution and remains cautious with players and their bodies]..That is why we will continue to be diligent with this.”
When asked how this happened for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Mark Daigneault says “It sounds like a bit more of a cumulative [injury]” adds “It added up and got to this point.” before saying “I don’t have a ton of detail, to be honest with you.” mentioning he found out this morning and will update us more as he learns more.
The Starters tonight: Theo Maledon, Lu Dort, Aleksej Pokusevski, Isaiah Roby, and Al Horford.