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.