OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks said Saturday that newly acquired center Kendrick Perkins will miss two to three weeks with a sprained MCL in his left knee.
The Thunder acquired Perkins from the Boston Celtics along with Nate Robinson at the trade deadline Thursday in exchange for Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic. OKC added Perkins in order to solidify its center position with a big player who can rebound and play defense.
Perkins has had trouble with his knees in the past. He missed the beginning of this season with a torn ACL and already was nursing this MCL injury before coming to the Thunder. He has played in only 12 games so far this season.
With Perkins absent for the team’s last game against the Orlando Magic, the Thunder’s need for an interior big man became even more apparent. Dwight Howard shredded the OKC defense for 40 points on 16-of-20 shooting and got to the free-throw line 12 times.
Despite the setback, Brooks said he could tell from their first conversation that Perkins is serious about becoming a better basketball player and that he shows a passion for competition.
“He doesn’t like his opponent,” Brooks said. “Whoever it is that night, he doesn’t like them.”
With Perkins’ injury, the Thunder’s second trade Thursday now becomes more important. Oklahoma City acquired center Nazr Mohammed from Charlotte, and he now will see an increase in playing time while Perkins is out. Perkins, Robinson and Mohammed all passed their physicals Friday, making them official members of the Thunder.
Brooks said he expects both Mohammed and Robinson to suit up and be ready to play in the Thunder’s next game against the Los Angeles Lakers. The game will begin at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Oklahoma City Arena.
This means heavy minutes for Ibaka, 34 yr old Nazr Mohammad and Nick Collison...these guys are going to be worn down, making the playoff push by the time Perkins returns