With 10 days left in the regular season, every team in the NBA is hurting.
The Thunder has one of the league's youngest and healthiest rosters, yet ice is in demand inside the locker room, where you'll find center Kendrick Perkins icing both knees before and after a game.
Thabo Sefolosha and Nick Collison sit in front of their lockers during postgame and often soak both feet in a tub of ice water.
All-Star Kevin Durant has battled knee and ankle injuries this season, but ask him why he appeared to be limping during a stoppage in play and Durant will give a puzzled look as if to ask, “What limp?”
Point guard Russell Westbrook is a light middleweight who frequently drives into the land of heavyweights. Westbrook has been knocked to the canvas probably more than any player in the NBA, yet he continues his streak of 222 consecutive starts.
Ask any player how he feels right now and there's a good chance he'll undersell the pain factor with either “Good,” “I'm fine,” “Just a little sore,” or “Nothing serious.”
The key for every playoff team is figuring out who's hurting, and who's injured.
Those who are hurting either play, or are day-to-day. Those who are injured have a scheduled return, or are gone for the season.
Among Western Conference playoffs teams, half the field has at least one significant player injured.
New Orleans forward David West (knee) won't return, nor will Memphis forward Rudy Gay (shoulder). Center Greg Oden (knee) and guard Elliot Williams (knee) will not play for Portland. Initially thought to be lost for the season, Dallas forward Caron Butler (knee) is aiming to return in the playoffs.
The San Antonio Spurs are hurting with a six-game losing streak, but it appears they no longer are injured.
Last Monday against Portland, the Spurs were without center Tim Duncan (ankle sprain), guard Manu Ginobili (bruised quad), point guard Tony Parker (knee bruise) and forward Antonio McDyess (back).
All four have since returned to the starting lineup, and San Antonio has still gone 0-2.
In the Eastern Conference, the Chicago Bulls recently were battling injuries, but are now the healthiest team among the top four seeds.
The Miami Heat is missing starting point guard Mario Chalmers (knee), forward Mike Miller (knee) has improved to questionable and the return of forward Udonis Haslem (foot) remains a mystery.
The Boston Celtics have lost starting center Nenad Krstic (knee) after he was injured Thursday at San Antonio and the much-anticipated return of center Shaquille O'Neal (Achilles) has been in constant flux.
The Orlando Magic await the return of guards J.J. Redick (abdominal strain) and Chris Duhon (thumb).
There's a world of difference between managing a regular-season schedule and handling one team in a seven-game series.
Can a team conquer the physical demands of a series? Do the playoff seedings match the injury report?
These are the questions to ponder as the postseason approaches.
John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.
NBA INJURY REPORT
1. San Antonio Spurs — None.
2. Los Angeles Lakers — F Devin Ebanks (left leg): Expected to miss three more weeks with stress fracture.
3. Dallas Mavericks — G Dominique Jones (right foot): Underwent surgery to repair stress fracture in his foot; could return for playoffs. F Caron Butler (right knee): Ruptured patellar tendon on Jan. 1. Originally thought would miss remainder of the season, but is hopeful to return for second round of playoffs is Mavericks are still alive.
4. Thunder — None.
5. Denver Nuggets — F Chris Andersen (right ankle): Sprained ankle Friday and not expected to play today against the Los Angeles Lakers.
6. Portland Trail Blazers — C Greg Oden (left knee): Out for season after microfracture surgery. G Elliot Williams (right knee): Out for season with dislocated patella.
7. New Orleans Hornets — F David West (left knee): Suffered torn ACL on March 25. Out for season with 6-10 months of rehab.
8. Memphis Grizzlies — F Rudy Gay (dislocated left shoulder): Had March 25 surgery. Out 4-6 months; G Xavier Henry (right knee): Out indefinitely with soreness. G Jason Williams (back): Out indefinitely with soreness.
1. Chicago Bulls — C Joakim Noah (right ankle): Sprained ankle last Monday, did not play Friday and was listed as questionable Saturday night.
2. Miami Heat — F Mike Miller (left knee): Missed third straight game with knee strain. Questionable today. G Mario Chalmers (right knee): Possibly out another week from injury he suffered March 19. F Udonis Haslem (left foot): Has missed most of the season with ruptured Lisfranc ligament. Has returned to practice but remains out indefinitely.
3. Boston Celtics — C Nenad Krstic (right knee): Injured Thursday and likely lost for the season. C Shaquille O'Neal (Achilles tendon): Hasn't played since Feb. 1, but could return today or Tuesday. F Troy Murphy (right ankle): Has not played since getting injured in practice March 24. Remains questionable today.
4. Orlando Magic — G Gilbert Arenas (flu): Missed Friday's game and remains questionable for today. G Chris Duhon (right thumb): Sprained ligament and could return late this week. G J.J. Redick (abdominal strain): Suffered injury on March 11 and remains out indefinitely. C Daniel Orton (left knee): Out for season.
5. Atlanta Hawks — None.
6. Philadelphia 76ers — None.
7. New York Knicks — C Ronny Turiaf (right ankle). Has not played since sprain suffered March 25. Probable for today.
8. Indiana Pacers — None.