Thunder guard Eric Maynor will miss the remainder of the season with a torn right ACL, the team announced Sunday.
Maynor injured his knee on a drive to the basket with 7:47 remaining in the fourth quarter Saturday night at Houston. He collapsed to the court and remained there for approximately two minutes before teammates had to carry him off the court.
“After further tests and evaluation this morning, it was revealed that Eric Maynor tore his right Anterier Cruciate Ligament in the fourth quarter of last night’s game in Houston,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a team-issued release. “The injury will require surgery and Eric will miss the remainder of the 2011-12 season.
“It’s unfortunate to lose a player like Eric, whose work ethic and leadership has contributed to the culture of our organization. Knowing him and the mental toughness he possesses, we are confident that he will do everything necessary to come back from this injury and be prepared for the 2012-13 season. Injuries are part of the NBA, and although it is tough to lose Eric, we must move forward and focus on our continued improvement as a basketball team.”
Maynor was a key reserve for the Thunder behind starting point guard Russell Westbrook, helping the Thunder establish one of the best second units in the NBA. In nine games, Maynor was averaging 4.2 points and 2.4 assists in 15.2 minutes per game. Last season, Maynor ranked ninth in the league in assists-to-turnover ratio at 3.09-to-1.
Rookie guard Reggie Jackson, the 24th overall pick out of Boston College, is expected to be relied upon to fill Maynor’s void. Jackson had only played sparingly going into Sunday’s game against San Antonio, averaging 2.3 points in 4.7 minutes in three appearances.
“That is an old NBA saying,” Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Saturday night. “You better be ready because you never know…But Reggie’s been preparing himself. He’s been working with (assistant coach Brian Keefe) every day, sometimes too long because he wants more. Reggie is one of those guys who wants more. He’s a sponge. And he’ll be fine if that’s what it calls for.”
The Thunder also could look to veteran point guard Royal Ivey, who was steady in limited action last season. Ivey had not appeared in a game this season prior to Sunday’s contest against the Spurs. In 25 games last year, Ivey averaged 1.6 points in 6.2 minutes.
The Thunder won by three against the Rockets but left Houston with heavy hearts.
“It’s kind of bittersweet for all of us, knowing that we got the win,” said Kevin Durant after the game. “But seeing one of our brothers hurt like that is tough on all of us.”