Everything was going so well for the Thunder, running so smooth against the Pacers that you could glimpse the glorious future.
If things were this good with the first-string center in street clothes, how good will they be when Kendrick Perkins is finally in a Thunder uniform?
Then, Kevin Durant went and stepped on Tyler Hansbrough's big ol' Nike.
Late in the third quarter, the Thunder superstar drove the lane, but on the way to the hoop, his left foot planted on top of the Indiana big man's shoe. His leg twisted awkwardly. Durant crumpled a bit, then looked to the bench for a sub as soon as he regained his balance.
When he hobbled to the sideline, he didn't stop at the bench but kept right on going to the locker room.
Suddenly, a 113-89 blowout of Indiana seemed unimportant.
Durant suffered a sprained left ankle. He didn't return to the arena floor after suffering the injury Wednesday night, and he was wearing a protective boot in the locker room after the game.
Apparently, though, he wasn't feeling too bad.
“I'm out for the year,” he said when asked how his ankle was.
He quickly flashed a Cheshire-cat grin.
“I'm just playin'.”
Deep breath, Thunder fans. The guy's going to live to play another day, maybe even Friday at Atlanta.
“Hopefully, I'm ready to go,” he said. “Just a little tweak. I did it before. Just gotta see how I feel in the morning.”
It's never good when your superstar leaves the arena wearing one shoe and carrying the other. The truth is, on a night when we caught a glimpse of just how good this new-look Thunder squad might be, we were reminded that for all these different faces and heightened hopes, the most important person on this roster remains No. 35.
Seeing Durant being helped to the locker room scared everyone.
“Definitely, definitely,” Thunder newbie Nazr Mohammed said. “That's our guy.”