Jeff Green Out Tonight
Forward Jeff Green will miss tonight’s game with a sore lower back.
Nick Collison will replace him in the starting lineup, giving the Thunder a probable starting five of Russell Westbrook, Kyle Weaver, Thabo Sefolosha, Collison and Nenad Krstic.
The news comes as a big blow to a Thunder team already missing leading scorer Kevin Durant because of a sprained right ankle. The loss of Green, who has not missed a game this season, will make it tougher for the Thunder to defend Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, who enters tonight’s game averaging 43.5 points against the Thunder in two games. Green is one of the team’s best individual defenders and would have drawn the defensive assignment on Dirk. That task is now likely to be assigned to Collison.
“We’re still going to have to just play with good energy,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks. “Whoever’s in there is going to have to play with a lot of passion, a lot of energy. We’re going to have a game where guys are going to get an opportunity to play extra minutes or play more minutes than they’ve had in the past.”
Green is being listed as day-to-day with the injury. Team officials don’t know specifically when the injury happened.
“He’s a young kid that’s going to recover,” Brooks said.
Brooks said he is likely to extend the rotation, playing nine and perhaps 10 guys tonight. Robert Swift will get some minutes tonight, Brooks said, as will forward Malik Rose.
“I look forward to the guys playing and stepping up tonight,” Brooks said. “A coach told me a long time ago, ‘All you need is five.’ And we have more than that so we’re going to be fine. We’re going to put our best guys on the court and then they’re going to play hard.”
BROOKS ON SMITH
Brooks had been candid in his desire to keep veteran forward Joe Smith, but after the team agreed to a buyout late Sunday night Brooks on Monday said it’s part of the business.
“I love Joe and what he brought to the team, but it’s a business decision,” Brooks said. ”He and his agent felt that it would be best for him to work on a deal. We move forward. We wish Joe a lot of success. He’s a great guy. He was great for our team. But it’s part of the business. We just have to move forward and continue to get better as a team.”
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