Thabo Sefolosha claims he doesn't remember all the aches and ailments he suffered last season.
Either he was trying to be tough about them, or it really was too many to keep track of.
“I really can't remember,” Sefolosha said. “Right now, I'm feeling good.”
He can only hope it stays that way.
As far as we know, Sefolosha's laundry list last year included a sprained left knee, a jammed pinkie, plantar fasciitis and an undisclosed illness that prevented him from traveling with the team to its preseason opener.
At the conclusion of the playoffs, Sefolosha opened up and admitted he was only about 70 percent healthy during the postseason.
“Rest is going to be a key this year, especially with the amount of games that we have in a small, small time,” Sefolosha said. “I think we all got to work hard but at the same time rest enough so the body can hold up.”
Sefolosha is one of the many players the Thunder cannot afford to see go down.
As the team's best perimeter defender, Sefolosha will again get the nightly assignment of guarding the other team's best wing players. Last year, while battling injuries, Sefolosha's success rate took a hit. But he was still good enough to slow down his man. And he did it without complaining.
“I like guys that go out there and do their job and don't complain about being banged up,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “And I know Thabo was banged up. I never questioned his effort because he was giving us everything he had…He never used it as an excuse. He kept going after it and kept challenging guys.”
Sefolosha says he's now 100 percent and ready to return to his 2009-10 form, when he earned All-Defensive Second Team honors.
“I did a good job in the summer taking care of my body and getting stronger, so I think it's going to be good,” Sefolosha said.
Despite his setbacks last season, Sefolosha still ranked in the top 10 in rebounding rate among guards while holding opposing shooting guards to a below average 13.2 player efficiency rating, according to ESPN's John Hollinger.
Sefolosha's size at 6-7, as well as his length and athleticism, have allowed him to become one of the league's better defenders. Brooks also called Sefolosha tough.
“He has a short-term memory,” Brooks said. “He forgets who scored on him. He's just going to stop them the next time. And at that position, you can easily get embarrassed…But he has those intangibles that make you a good defender.”
It took Kendrick Perkins just five games last season to declare Sefolosha as being his new favorite defender. Sefolosha had just helped hold Utah swingmen C.J. Miles and Gordon Hayward to a combined 18 points on 3-for-22 shooting in a win over the Jazz.
Perkins compared Sefolosha to a more athletic Bruce Bowen.
“You tend to take guys like Thabo for granted,'' Perkins said, “until you're out there on the court.”