The last time Thunder fans saw Cameron Payne in uniform was in the Sept. 27th Blue and White Scrimmage. Payne hasn’t run or jumped since. Diagnosed with the same Jones Fracture that derailed “He Who Must Not Be Named” during the 2014/15 season, the “Maestro” opted for the non-surgical route and is still listed out of the Thunder line-up indefinitely.
The Thunder announced on Oct. 5th that Payne’s injury would be re-evaluated in 6 to 8 weeks, but the results of any re-evaluation, if there has been one, has not been released. The good news on the Cam-Payne trail to recovery is no reported setbacks and Payne feels he is about a month away from returning to basketball.
Citing Payne’s health and longevity as more important than an immediate return, coach Billy Donovan knows what sort of impact the second-year point guard could have on a Thunder second unit struggling to produce consistently.
“He's a guy that can be an engine for us offensively in terms of generating offense, creating paint offense and getting guys shots, and having a really good feel of how to play,” he said.
Semaj Christon has stepped in during Payne’s absence and played well at times, but to date, the Thunder’s production drops from 105.3 pts per 100 possessions to 90 when Russell Westbrook isn’t on the floor. Payne’s return would help, but to what degree will remain a mystery until Donovan can get him back on the floor:
“... he's been out for quite a bit of time. He's missed a lot of the summer, and he's missed basically all of training camp. I think this is going to be a long process for Cameron, not in terms of getting back on the court, but getting back to the level of player that he's capable of being.”
After seeing the second unit give up 7-0 and 9-0 runs to the Pacers to begin the second and fourth quarters, and a 10-3 spurt from the Kings to kick off the second quarter of a game tied 27 to 27 after the first, consider Westbrook a fan of a quick return by Payne:
“He's another playmaker, a guy that's able to distribute and score the basketball, as well,” Westbrook said. “He's got some games underneath his belt and a little experience, so that'll be good to get him back.”
Payne’s return would also cure the Thunder’s pre-game dancing letdown:
Needs work Victor Oladipo... needs work!!!
Pay attention VO-5, except for a few video-hogs from a certain cucumber sandwich eater that will not be named, THIS is how it’s done: