Two and a half quarters into his second start with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Taj Gibson suffered a mild left hip injury.
Following an awkward foot plant, Gibson left Saturday's contest at the 4:48 mark of the penultimate frame and did not return. Though Oklahoma City held on for a 112-104 victory vs. Utah, home-standing OKC was outscored 46-34 with Gibson sidelined.
Further, as Gibson convalesced, Oklahoma City's offense misfired while Russell Westbrook garnered just one assist during an overall Thunder (10-29 FGA, and 1-of-7 3PM) drought.
Prior to his injury, during 22 minutes of play, Gibson added 15 points and six rebounds on 7-of-9 shooting.
That doesn’t mean Gibson will be back. Thunder would prefer to maintain a lead and not play him.— Brett Dawson (@BDawsonWrites) March 11, 2017
In spite of Oklahoma City’s rough patch minus Gibson, the Thunder has now defeated Northwest-division leader Utah on three-consecutive occasions to finish the teams’ season series with a 3-1 advantage.
The rejuvenated Thunder is 2-0 since placing trade-deadline acquisition Gibson into the starting lineup.
During this stretch, OKC has upended Western Conference standouts San Antonio and Utah. These quality wins follow a four-game losing streak against sub .500 competition.
After being evaluated, Gibson returned to OKC’s bench, though with Oklahoma City sporting a comfortable lead the 31-year-old was held out due to precautionary measures.
Preliminary reports suggest that Gibson will be listed as day-to-day ahead of Oklahoma City’s Tuesday road contest vs. the Brooklyn Nets.