Kendrick Perkins could miss all of training camp and perhaps each of the Thunder's seven preseason games while recovering from wrist surgery.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Wednesday that the team is hoping to have its starting center back in time for the season opener at San Antonio on Nov. 1.
“What we're trying to do is have him ready for the first game, or the beginning of the regular season,” Presti said at his annual preseason news conference. “His conditioning, his fitness and his levels, he's done a fantastic job. His wrist is a thing that we have to be very cautious with and we will be.”
Perkins underwent a surgical procedure on July 19 to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist. It was one of two surgeries Perkins needed this offseason. The other came just eight days earlier to repair a groin injury.
As recently as two weeks ago, Perkins was still wearing a brace on his left hand while appearing at a community event at a local middle school. He said then that the surgery required a three-month healing process. Thursday marks week 10, putting his projected return at Oct. 11.
The Thunder starts training camp Monday and will play its first preseason game Oct. 10. By the sound of it, the Thunder will ease Perkins back in rather than rush him into action in any of the remaining six exhibition games.
That might explain the team's decision to bring four centers into camp this year. Cole Aldrich is projected to be Perkins' primary backup, and the team signed Hasheem Thabeet this summer while also adding former Bishop McGuinness standout Daniel Orton to its training camp roster.
None of the three backups has proven himself in the NBA thus far.
“That will give some opportunities to the other guys during camp,” Presti said of Perkins' injury.