OKLAHOMA CITY — During his pregame media session Friday evening, prior to the Thunder’s tip against the Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan opened the door to the possibility Andre Roberson not returning at all this season.
Roberson has undergone one major surgery and two smaller procedures in response to setbacks during his rehab and recovery since rupturing the patellar tendon in his left knee during the Thunder’s 49th game of the 2017-18 season two Januaries ago.
Friday, after explaining Hamidou Diallo would miss Friday’s game with a banged up knee suffered three nights earlier at Indiana, Donovan said Roberson would also miss the game.
That prompted another question:
Does Donovan expect Roberson to come back at all this season?
He did not say “yes.”
Nor did he say “probably,” nor that he believed he would.
This is what Donovan said.
“I hope so,” he began. “For him.”
“But like I said last game, I just don’t have a timetable to be able to say when that would be. We’re hopeful.
“He’s a lot better off today then was last year [at this time], I’ll say that. But where that leads and how far away from playing his he, it’s just too hard for me to say … I don’t deal with it every day just because when there’s things that they need to update me on, they update me.
“I try to encourage Andre and keep his spirits up because he was worked hard and he’s doing what he can to get back on the court.”
Donovan has not only not played this season, but been declared inactive for each game too, and the official explanations for that status have changed slightly over the early season.
The first nine games of the season, listed in the official boxscore of each game, Roberson was listed as inactive due to "Injury/Illness — return to play management; left knee. Since, thats changed to "Injury/Illness — Recovery; Left knee."