Key star absences could factor in OKC Thunder vs Kings: latest SGA and Fox updates

OKC Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) shoots as Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) defends. Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
OKC Thunder guard Luguentz Dort (5) shoots as Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes (40) defends. Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports /

Entering week 20 of gameplay the OKC Thunder will complete the baseball set versus the  Sacramento Kings. Although the Thunder lost the opening match it wasn’t quite the offensive outburst the Kings dropped on the Clippers when they scored 176 points.

That said, the Kings possess the top-ranked offense in the association and pose a real challenge to the OKC Thunder defense. Sacramento scored 124 points on Sunday well above the 116.6 the Thunder typically allow.

In contrast, the Thunder scored 116 points with Isaiah Joe continuing his blistering pace leading the team with 24 points while Josh Giddey and Lu Dort each scored 18.

Clearly, not having Shai Gilgeous-Alexander available presents problems, particularly when at the end of the shot clock and to close quarters.

Will Shai Gilgeous-Alexander play versus Sacramento Kings on Feb. 28th?

Per the most recent NBA Official injury report Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will NOT play versus the Kings as he continues to deal with right ankle soreness and an abdominal strain.

In addition, as Rylan Stiles updated earlier SGA has entered health and safety protocols. How long he’ll be sidelined is uncertain. But given Shai is from Canada, it’s a safe bet he was vaccinated since entry from the U.S. into Canada requires vaccination and he spent time back home this offseason.

OKC is sorely missing SGA’s output of 31 points, 4.7 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.1 blocks per game averages.

And, to reiterate, his absence is most noticeable at the end of shot clocks, closing out quarters and when the team needs a momentum change.  Expect Isaiah Joe to be in the starting lineup again in Shai’s stead.

Kings star is questionable – is Fox out?

While the Thunder deal without the services of their All-Star, the Kings could also be in a similar situation. Specifically, Kings All-Star point guard, De’Aaron Fox is listed as questionable for tonight as he deals with left wrist soreness.

If Fox can’t go it’s not like the Kings don’t have the depth to fill in for their star point guard, especially with Domantas Sabonis playing such a large role in playmaking.

However, it’s notable that the Kings are 1-4 in the games Fox has missed stressing his importance to the team.

In addition to Fox, Keon Ellis (questionable), and Neemias Queta (out) are both listed as G League absences as the reason.

OKC Thunder full injury report vs. Sacramento Kings on Feb. 26th

In addition to Shai, the OKC Thunder will be without Chet Holmgren (right foot surgery) and Aleksej Pokusevski (left tibial plateau; non-displaced fracture) who are dealing with serious injuries requiring long rehabs.

Per the official NBA injury report as of 4:30 p.m. EST, the Thunder will also be without the services of Ousmane Dieng, Olivier Sarr, and Lindy Waters III all listed as out and with the OKC Blue on G League assignment.

Next 5 opponents for the OKC Thunder

Entering this match the OKC Thunder have lost three games in a row including the overtime heartbreaker in Utah, the Suns game in Phoenix on Friday as well as the front side of the baseball set on Sunday versus the Kings.

The loss pushed the OKC Thunder to four games under .500 and 13th in the West. They’ve fallen behind the Lakers who are also dealing with significant star injury news with LeBron James expected to miss extended time due to a foot injury. Given the next contest features the Lakers it takes on even greater credence in the play-in seeding race.

Notably, the Thunder has the seventh easiest strength of schedule to close the season (fourth easiest in the West).

Here is a look at the next five games for the Thunder:

  • Wednesday, March 1st vs. Los Angeles Lakers at 7:00 p.m. CT
  • Friday, March 3rd  vs. Utah Jazz at 7:00 p.m. CT (front game of a baseball set)
  • Sunday, March 5th  vs. Utah Jazz  at 6:00 p.m. CT (back end of a baseball set)
  • Tuesday, March 7th  vs. Golden State Warriors at 7:00 p.m. CT (front side of a back-to-back)
  • Wednesday, March 8th at Phoenix at 8:00 p.m. CT (completion of a back-to-back)

Next. A cautionary tale for the OKC Thunder and developing teams. dark