The Oklahoma City Thunder announced Sunday that Kendrick Perkins had suffered a right hip muscle strain in the first quarter of Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks and is now listed as day-to-day.
Perkins likely would not have been able to play in any more of the Dallas series and may even miss some of the next round. That just adds to the importance of the Thunder’s 13-point fourth quarter comeback in Game 4.
Perkins had been the primary defender Oklahoma City used on Dirk Nowitzki in the series and Perkins’ value as a post defender may be in even higher demand if the Thunder play the Lakers in the second round, and it looks like they will.
Perkins’ return to play will be based on his progress and recovery in the coming days. Recovery time would normally take a week or longer for this type of injury but you’d have to assume that is he is close to being able to go then he will even if it’s a little too soon.
Day-to-day is not very telling of the injury as Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha missed over a month while being listed day-to-day.
The Thunder would have to play next as early as this coming Saturday (7 days after the injury) or as late as next Monday or Tuesday (9 or 10 days).
The Thunder will have home court no matter what but dealing with the Lakers’ frontline of Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum won’t be easy without Perkins. The Lakers have the best 4-5 combo in the NBA and part of Oklahoma City’s success against Los Angeles has been their ability to contain the duo with Perkins and Serge Ibaka.
In the second half of Game 4 against Dallas, Brooks started Nazr Mohammed to stick with the usual rotation of bringing Nick Collison off the bench. If Perkins is not ready to play by Game 1 you would expect Brooks to do the same because you wouldn’t want to sacrifice the chemistry Collison and James Harden have with the second unit.
The Thunder should still be favored in a series with the Lakers even without Perkins but remember last year Oklahoma City traded Jeff Green for Perkins for this exact matchup with the Lakers.