The Oklahoma City Thunder’s latest setback has the team in a precarious position.
Opposite Dallas, calamity struck in the form of an Enes Kanter forearm fracture. Kanter, while visibly distressed, emphatically punched a chair after being whistled for an infraction at the 7:34 mark of the second quarter.
Following subsequent X-Rays to Kanter’s right forearm, Thunder Head Coach Billy Donovan confirmed to media that a fracture had occurred.
Donovan had this statement concerning Kanter’s injury:
"I'm disappointed personally because I think Enes had been playing very good basketball. He kind of carved out a niche coming off the bench with that second unit. He was a guy that generated offense for us."
The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that Oklahoma City’s reserve scoring maven could miss two months while his arm heals.
Sources on @TheVertical: After punching chair to fracture forearm, OKC's Enes Kanter could miss two months. https://t.co/moei4nsCPL— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojVerticalNBA) January 27, 2017
Pre-injury, Kanter, 24, was enjoying his most efficient season as a professional, averaging 14.6 ppg and 6.8 rpg in just 21 mpg.
The 6’11 power forward/center ranks among the NBA’s per-36 minute leaders in both ppg (24.1) and rebounds (11.1).
With Kanter expected to miss a significant amount of time, Oklahoma City’s immediate and long-term prospects for success have withstood a massive hit.
Presently, the Thunder sport a respectable 28-19 record. However, minus their leading reserve scorers interior presence, a thin Oklahoma City bench will likely struggle to maintain pace with a cadre of upcoming quality opposition.
Enes Kanter’s solid offensive and interior performance placed him amongst the league’s top reserves. Additionally, Kanter has come off the bench in each of his 46 appearances this season.
The Oklahoma City Thunder will search for quality depth as the team faces the Cleveland Cavaliers this Sunday on ABC.