Thunder coach Scott Brooks said rookie forward D.J. White will not make his debut tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers but could see his first action of the season on the team’s upcoming three-game road trip.
“Tonight he will be inactive,” Brooks said. “He won’t play tonight unless somebody twists an ankle going to the game and we need another body. But he will be inactive. He’ll have a couple of days of practice and then we’ll make a decision.”
Brooks said he was impressed with White’s three-game stint with the Tulsa 66ers after the 6-foot-9 forward missed the first five months of the season and all of training camp because of a benign growth in his jaw. White averaged 17.3 points, 9.7 rebounds, 2.0 blocks and 1.0 assists in 37.7 minutes.
“It’s hard to do what he did after not playing basketball for six straight months,” Brooks said. “And to fight back and stay positive, stay mentally sharp, stay physically ready, I thought he did a very good job.”
Brooks said White will be evaluated in practice Wednesday and again Thursday before the team travels to Toronto for Friday’s game against the Raptors. If White doesn’t make his debut Friday he could take the court Sunday at Boston or next Tuesday at San Antonio.
White called it a “relief” just to be this close to returning.
“I don’t know when it’ll be,” White said of his debut. “That’s up to the coaches. But I know it’ll feel good. It’ll be a relief after going through so much this year, sitting out so long. It’ll just be a relief to run out there on the court with my Thunder uniform on.”