Kendrick Perkins will miss up to six weeks after undergoing surgery to repair a strained left groin.
The Thunder’s starting center sustained the injury early in the third quarter of last Thursday’s home loss to Miami.
Should he miss the entire six weeks, Perkins would be sidelined until approximately April 9, when the Thunder plays a road game against Sacramento. He would miss 20 games.
The team is expected to be extremely cautious with Perkins and allow him the most time possible to recover. The goal is to have Perkins healed in time for the playoffs.
The Thunder recently took a similar approach with starting point guard Russell Westbrook, who missed 27 games after chronic swelling in his surgically-repaired right knee required a third surgery in late December. But groin injuries are notorious for lingering and becoming worse if not handled properly.
Additionally, this is the second known bout with a groin injury that Perkins has had. He played through a partially torn right groin during the 2012 playoffs, sustaining the injury in the first round against Dallas before dealing with discomfort all the way through the NBA Finals. Perkins underwent surgery for that injury shortly after the Finals.
Perkins was averaging 3.4 points, five rebounds and 1.1 assists in 19.7 minutes this season. The Thunder is 0-3 without him this year and 3-5 in games he’s missed over the last three years.
Rookie center Steven Adams, the 12th overall pick out of Pittsburgh, is expected to start in place of Perkins.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks, however, said that he could alter his lineup while Perkins is out depending on matchups.
“Steven’s going to get opportunities,” Brooks said. “And he’s developed at a pace that we’re very happy with. He’s going to get more opportunities now. There’s going to be games where we can go with smaller lineups, games we can go with different guys in that (center) spot. But I think he’s done well in the minutes that he’s had, and it’s going to be another opportunity for growth in his development.”
Adams is averaging 3.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 14.2 minutes.