The Oklahoma City Thunder seemed to have just started clicking recently since getting Russell Westbrook back in the lineup. After missing over half of the 2013-14 NBA season due to a second knee surgery, OKC dropped their first three games with him back in the lineup, but have since won their last two.
However, before their second win with Westbrook back on Sunday the Thunder received some disappointing news. As Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman reported on Sunday afternoon, starting guard Thabo Sefolosha will be out for the next 4-6 weeks with a calf injury.
Sefolosha has been inconsistent for the Thunder this season, but has still been a key cog in their system. In 55 games, the seven-year veteran has averaged 6.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.4 steals in 26.4 minutes per game while hitting 42.5 percent of his shots but only 33.8 percent of his three-point attempts. He’s also continued to be the Thunder’s best perimeter weapon on the defensive end of the floor.
While the loss of Sefolosha certainly isn’t a good thing, it does present the opportunity for Oklahoma City to give younger guys, like Perry Jones who started for OKC on Sunday, more experience coming into the postseason. In the near future, it will also give the Thunder the chance to get a good look at and to integrate new addition Caron Butler once he joins the team.
Butler comes in as a veteran presence for this team after being bought out and waived by the Milwaukee Bucks. Though success has been scarce for Butler this season, he could potentially offer the Thunder leadership and needed consistent offense in a limited capacity. The injury to Sefolosha opens up the chance for that to happen sooner rather than later. All that remains to be seen is if Butler can indeed bring to the table what the team is hoping he can.