Scary freak injury leads to OKC player being removed on a stretcher

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The Oklahoma City Thunder recorded their seventh straight victory Saturday, but after the game the only thing everyone was talking about was a scary injury that Andre Roberson suffered.

With the Thunder up by 25 in the third quarter, Russell Westbrook threw a lob to Roberson, who was sprinting to the hoop down the baseline. But something happened as Roberson went up to catch the lob, and that caused him to land on his back.

Roberson was down for minutes before leaving the court on a stretcher. Tears were in his eyes as he faced the reality that this could very well be a season-ending injury.

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ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports the preliminary diagnosis on Roberson is a torn patellar tendon. That would indeed be a season-ender, but Roberson will undergo additional testing once he gets back to Oklahoma City.

An injury to that same left knee knocked Roberson out of eight games earlier this season. That injury was classified as patellar tendinitis and it’s not hard to believe that this current injury is related to that.

Roberson is the team’s best perimeter defender and coach Billy Donovan and the Thunder may have to use the trade market to find a way to fill his void.

“He’s certainly a huge loss,” Donovan said. “Everyone’s been able to see that since he’s kinda come back to us and what he’s been able to do defensively. And he’s found a way to be, offensively, a really effective player for us.”

Despite being less heralded then teammates Paul George and Carmelo Anthony, Roberson has a better plus/minus than both players. Only Westbrook has a higher plus/minus than Roberson among Thunder regulars.

OKC has posted a 24-15 record in Roberson’s 39 starts. They are 5-5 in the 10 games in which he didn’t start.

This is Roberson’s fifth season in the NBA and he just signed a three-year extension this past summer. He is locked up through the 2019-20 season.

If the initial diagnosis is confirmed, Roberson would be the third NBA player over the last year to suffer a torn patellar tendon. David Lee of the Spurs suffered the injury in last season’s playoffs and ended up retiring just a few months later.

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Jeremy Lin of the Nets suffered the injury in the his team’s season opener and was immediately ruled out for the remainder of the season. He said he hopes to be able to run and cut by April, which would be six months after the injury.

There’s also other injury news which affects OKC. With DeMarcus Cousins tearing his Achilles’ tendon on Friday, Paul George has been named as the All-Star replacement for Cousins. He will join Team LeBron, which also features Westbrook.

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Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009.
Ross Kelly has been a sportswriter since 2009 and previously worked for ESPN, CBS and STATS Inc. A native of Louisiana, Ross now resides in Houston.
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