Shortly after Kendrick Perkins left in the first quarter of Game 4 on Saturday night, Thunder coach Scott Brooks soon learned his starting center would not return against the Dallas Mavericks.
Two days later, Perkins' exact return remained unknown.
“I'm sure in the next couple days we'll have a better understanding,” Brooks said during a noon interview session Monday.
OKC officials list players as “day-to-day” when the severity of an injury is in the process of being diagnosed, a stage where Perkins remained two days after the Thunder swept the defending world champions in the opening round of the NBA playoffs.
An MRI on Sunday confirmed Perkins suffered a right hip muscle strain and his “return to play will be based on his progress and recovery in the coming days.”
The amount of recovery time depends on the severity of the strain – mild, moderate or severe – plus the amount of pain, swelling and potential loss of strength in the affected muscle.
Rest and treatments are the primary course of action. Recovery could take several days to several weeks.
Perkins' potential absence in the playoffs could severely damage OKC's chances of advancing against the winner of the Los Angeles Lakers-Denver Nuggets series, which the Lakers lead 3-1 with Game 5 on Tuesday night in Los Angeles.
Imagine the ramifications had the Thunder not been able to overcome a 13-point deficit in the final 9½ minutes of Game 4 to win 103-97.
Game 5 would have been at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Monday night. Would Perkins have played?
“Hmmm,” Brooks said, a smile creeping slowly on his face. “That's a great question. Is there a Game 5 today? That's a hypothetical … but probably not.”