A possible explanation emerged Thursday for why Nick Collison labored through what could be considered the worst season of his career.
The Thunder announced that Collison underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Thursday morning. He is expected to be sidelined for four to six weeks before returning to normal offseason activities, the team said.
Collison, who will turn 34 before the start of next season, averaged 4.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 0.3 blocked shots in 16.7 minutes, all career lows. Though he appeared in 81 games for the second straight season, Collison’s minutes per game dipped for the third straight year and plummeted to just 10.8 during the postseason.
It’s unclear what the exact issue is in Collison’s knee that mandated the scope, when it occurred or how long he’s battled the injury. Although the procedure is believed to be a minor one, it’s another blow to a player who has battled injuries throughout his career and is now entering the twilight years.
Collison is entering the final year of his contract but has expressed a desire to play for as long as he is physically able and providing positive contributions. But the emergence of rookie center Steven Adams, last year’s 12th overall pick, and second-year forward Perry Jones III could threaten more of Collison’s minutes moving forward.
It’s a reality that Collison conceded but embraced in his exit interview the day after the Thunder’s season-ending Game 6 loss to San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals.
“I think my role on the court is going to change,” Collison said. “It’s changed over the years. Playoffs, it changed. It was an adjustment for me to be in and out more. But that’s something I’m going to have to adjust to, and if it’s similar next year I’ll adjust to that.
“I think I can bring a lot of value, though, just with experience and being with the guys that have been here and being able to help young players. I bring value in that. For me, that’s what I want to do is do whatever it takes to help us win because that’s best for the team. It’s also best for me.”