There was a Kendrick Perkins sighting early Friday afternoon at the Thunder practice facility.
Perkins was spotted walking from the weight room to the locker room. He was not on crutches, there was no hint of a limp in his recognizable gait, nor was there anything new to report on his progress.
Perkins remains listed as “day-to-day” after suffering a right hip muscle strain in the first quarter of Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks last Saturday.
Not only does Perkins' status remain uncertain, but so does OKC's next opponent in the second round of the Western Conference playoffs.
The Los Angeles Lakers-Denver Nuggets series will be decided with Game 7 on Saturday at 9:30 p.m. at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Lakers-Nuggets winner will face the Thunder in Game 1 on Monday and Game 2 on Wednesday. Both games will tip off at 8:30 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena and will be telecast on TNT.
The fact there has been no update on Perkins' condition suggests it was of great benefit to OKC for the Lakers-Nuggets series to go the full seven games, allowing Perkins more time to heal.
Had the Lakers won Game 6 on Thursday night at Denver, Game 1 against the Thunder would have been Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in OKC.
“Another 24 hours for the body to heal up, repair and recover is a great thing,” veteran point guard Derek Fisher said. “Perk's been working hard, doing the best job that he can do to try and get back out there for us. At the same time, we don't want to rush it. He's not only important to us come Monday night but for longer-term plans, we want Perk to be healthy as possible as we expect to continue to advance.”
It also has been suggested the Thunder is withholding information in a show of gamesmanship to keep the opponent guessing.
The basic problem with that theory is OKC doesn't even know its next opponent. The Lakers and Nuggets have far more pressing matters than to figure out whether or not Perkins will be available for Game 1 of the second round.
The earliest gamesmanship could possibly set in is Sunday, at which time Perkins' status literally will be day-to-day with a Monday tip.
When the Thunder finally does play again, nine days will have passed since its last game. Under such circumstances, it begs a familiar sports question: Does too much rest bring rust?
The Thunder – which had Sunday off and had optional practice days on Monday and Thursday – no doubt will be well-rested come Monday, but will it be rusty?
“It's always in the back of your mind,” OKC coach Scott Brooks said, “but you can't worry about that.”
Is too much rest a bad thing?
“It's been great for all of us,” Brooks said of this week's idle schedule. “We've had very good practices – very sharp, very crisp. I think the days off are helping us going into the next series. I don't see anything bad about it. We just had days off. We just have to focus in and who we play Monday. We'll be worried about that team as soon as we know.”
The Thunder's younger players, like 23-year-old Russell Westbrook, have never had this many days off between games, including during All-Star break.
“I don't really know if it helps us or hurt us, but hopefully it's for the good,” Westbrook said.
Fisher has played in 213 career playoff games, won five world championships and endured perhaps every imaginable postseason scheduling demand.
“Sometimes it gets tough with this many days without a competitive game,” Fisher explained. “You can start to lose that edge, that drive that you develop when you're playing games. We've had what I guess would be considered training camp-type practices. The attention has been up, the energy has been good. I think we've done the best job we can do, considering we haven't had a game, but there's nothing like a game.”
Brooks said he has added a few wrinkles in an effort to keep practice sessions fresh.
Asked if he has offered any suggestions, Fisher smiled and said: “What's fun about this team is there's still a certain intensity and competitiveness between the guys that exists that's really fun. Being on veteran teams the last couple years, practice wasn't always the most energetic.
“Being on a young team that plays with a lot of passion and as close as these guys are, they don't really necessarily like each other during practice. It gets pretty tense out there. That part has been good and that's what you need to keep everybody at a certain level. We're tired of kind of beating up on each other.”