Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti updated reporters on the status of Andre Roberson during a conference call on Sunday. And while he stopped short of saying that the Thunder wing and defensive specialist would return when the NBA resumes its 2019-20 season later this summer, he didn’t dismiss a potential return to action outright.
As reported by The Oklahoman‘s Joe Mussatto, Presti remarked that the extended break in play has given Roberson additional recovery time and indicated that the 28-year-old had made significant progress since the NBA suspended play in March. However, he stressed that Roberson has only seen limited court activity and that the team’s decision-makers would have to see him work before making a determination on his availability.
“Obviously the time has really helped Dre. From a health standpoint he’s doing really well. The issue that we’re facing is that we have not had the opportunity to see him on the court in real basketball activity because everything is relegated to one-on-zero still.”
“I think we’re in a better place than we were March 11. That’s for sure. But we don’t know exactly where we’ll be once we get down to actually participating in contact and going through team practices and things of that nature. We’re certainly hopeful, but we’ve gotta cross that next bridge.”
Roberson has been out of commission since January 27, 2018, when he ruptured his left patellar tendon in a game against the Detroit Pistons. Since that time, he has incurred multiple speed bumps along his road to recovery. Later that year, he was forced to undergo an additional surgical procedure after suffering a setback during rehab. Then, in November, he suffered an avulsion fracture in his knee.
Before his injury problems, Roberson was widely regarded as one of the NBA’s elite defenders. During the 2017-18 campaign, the Thunder surrendered just 97.3 points per 100 possessions when Roberson was on the floor. He has also posted a positive defensive box plus/minus score in every season of his NBA career.
For his efforts on the defensive side of the court, the Thunder rewarded Roberson with a three-year $30 million contract in 2017. Now, he finds himself in the final year of that deal and uncertainty looms with regard to whether the Thunder will want to re-up with an oft-injured and offensively limited player; Roberson owns a career scoring average of just 4.6 points per game and has made just 26 percent of his three-point attempts.
What is certain is that Thunder are in competition for a prime playoff spot in the Western Conference, even without the contributions of Roberson. At the time of the NBA’s suspension of play due to the COVID-19 pandemic, OKC held a 40-24 record, which is good for fifth in the West.
While Roberson could be back to help the Thunder in their playoff push, the Brooklyn Nets can’t say the same about Kevin Durant and their own postseason pursuits. As reported by The Inquisitr, Durant has reportedly been ruled out for making his own return from injury this season.