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Oklahoma City Thunder’s backcourt depth tested as Semaj Christon suffers injury

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Semaj Christon is placed in NBA’s concussion protocol program after Friday night’s win

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City’s backourt depth will be tested without injured Semaj Christon
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Amid a pivotal 9-4 third-quarter run in Friday's 124-105 victory against Brooklyn, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Semaj Christon suffered a non-displaced left facial fracture.

This injury occurred as Christon's face collided with the knee of teammate Enes Kanter. Following the collision, the 24-year-old rookie was forced to exit the contest with what team officials described as "concussion-like symptoms." Subsequent tests revealed a fracture to Christon's left cheek.

Pursuant to the NBA's concussion protocol, the backup point guard will be inactive until clearing the league's return-to participation protocol which include:

  • A 24-hour monitoring period before beginning return-to-participation exercises
  • Stationary bike test
  • jogging
  • agility work
  • non-contact team drills

Before a return to basketball-related activities is allowed, Christon must adequately perform each exercise while showing himself to be asymptomatic of concussive effects. Upon completion of this process, the Oklahoma City Thunder team physician must deem Christon physically able to resume practice.

This injury, coupled with Cameron Payne’s pre-season Jones fracture, has significantly compromised Oklahoma City’s backcourt depth. Last season, Payne, 22, averaged five points and just under two assists in 12.2 minutes of action. However, the second-year-guard is still shy of a full recovery.

Meanwhile, in 13 appearances during the 16’-17’ campaign, Christon has contributed 3.6 ppg and 2.6 apg while competing for 12.2 minutes per outing.

With both Christon and Payne sidelined, recent Development Leauge assignee Joshua Huestis is likely to be activated by the Thunder for Sunday night’s contest vs. Indiana.

While the Oklahoma City Thunder’s barren backcourt mends, newly acquired combo guard Victor Oladipo is expected to assume the bulk of OKC’s backup point-guard responsibilities.