Of all the things Reggie Jackson needed to prepare for in anticipation of a larger role this season, there was one that he ran into Wednesday night that he perhaps didn't factor in so early.
Having to play hurt.
Jackson played 32 uncomfortable minutes in the Thunder's season opener at Utah, nursing obvious discomfort in his lower back area. At several points during the game, Jackson placed a heating pad on his back when he was on the bench and attempted stretching near the bench at other points during the action. At one point, Jackson needed to retreat to the locker-room area.
After the game, Jackson walked gingerly through the team's dressing room, grimacing as he sat at his cubicle.
When asked about the injury, Jackson just looked up and smiled, choosing to not comment. Asked how long he's been dealing with discomfort, Jackson again declined to comment.
With customary starter Russell Westbrook sidelined while recovering from knee surgery, the Thunder can't afford to lose Jackson. Veteran Derek Fisher is the only other healthy point guard on the roster.
ADAMS THE NEW BACKUP CENTER?
Thunder coach Scott Brooks came a little closer to confirming that he has settled on rookie center Steven Adams as the primary backup behind Kendrick Perkins. But just a little.
Brooks still won't say it authoritatively, but the coach hinted that Adams is indeed his man.
“I think Steven has done a good job,” Brooks said. “But everything, minutes are available. I think (Hasheem Thabeet), Steven and Perk have done a good job, and we're going to always have to compete and battle and fight for those minutes. (Some) nights it's going to be one more than the other.”