Last season, the Thunder added fifty games lost to their 2016-17 injury total and still managed to finish with the second lowest total for games missed in the NBA. Additionally, the hard work of Joe Sharpe and the rest of the OKC medical staff allowed the team to finish in the top three for salary dollars and minutes per game lost to injury.
Former Thunder guard Cameron Payne and his fractured fifth metatarsal was the biggest blemish on OKC’s otherwise stellar season, accounting for 46 percent of their total games lost. Enes Kanter and Victor Oladipo were the only other Thunder players to miss more than 10 games with Russell Westbrook appearing in 81 contests.
The offseason brought in a flurry of new faces including two superstars with noteworthy injuries in their history. Paul George was the first big name added and has returned to form following his ugly lower leg fracture during the summer of 2014. The team then made another huge splash adding Carmelo Anthony shortly before the start of camp. Anthony has endured a myriad of injuries throughout his career but his problematic left knee will remain a point of emphasis for the Thunder medical team.
Routine treatment and maintenance on George and Anthony will be vital to the team’s long-term status and should help ease the workload of Westbrook. The reigning MVP underwent a plasma-rich platelet (PRP) injection prior in his left knee shortly before the start of training camp and will also be closely monitored throughout the year. Fortunately, the track record of Sharpe and company suggests they are up to the task and well suited for what should be an exciting new season.