In need of a tall body, the Oklahoma City Thunder looked 25 miles south and added former Oklahoma center Longar Longar to its training camp roster.
Though Longar's roster presence is temporary, he wore a permanent smile following the Thunder's first workout of the season Tuesday.
"This is a great opportunity for me," said the 6-foot-11, 230-pound Longar. "These guys are some of the best players in the world. Just being around something this special is a blessing."
Starting center Nenad Krstic had surgery last week to his right (shooting) index finger and likely will miss most of training camp. The Thunder also determined during a Tuesday morning exam that forward Nick Collison will be out indefinitely with a bone bruise in his left knee.
"It gives us an extra body," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of signing Longar, "and it gives him an opportunity to show us what he can do. I don't know much about him, but he gave us good energy today."
Longar had been working out in Norman with OU director of student/athlete performance Jozsef Szendrei when the Thunder called late Saturday.
Born in Sudan and one of 11 children in his family, Longar played with the Sooners from 2004-08. He had career averages of 7.2 points and 4.3 rebounds and was OU's second-leading scorer his senior season.
Longar gained notoriety for an incident on Jan. 6, 2007, when he was chinning the ball and his elbow struck Red Raiders center Esmir Rizvic, who suffered a broken eye socket.
Rizvic missed the remainder of the season. Longar was suspended for two games.
Texas Tech coach Bob Knight said he believed Longar deliberately elbowed Rizvic.
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