PORTLAND, Ore. -- Forward Serge Ibaka and guard Thabo Sefolosha became the Thunder's first starters not to be in the lineup when they sat out of Sunday night's contest against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Rose Garden.
Ibaka suffered a contusion on the left side of his chest in the third quarter of Friday night’s 116-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center and did not return. Sefolosha was sidelined with a sore neck.
The Thunder had been the only team in the NBA to use the same starting lineup every game this season.
Veteran reserve forward Nick Collison replaced Ibaka. Second-year guard DeAndre Liggins, who had a triple-double in the season opener this season for the Tulsa 66ers, replaced Sefolosha for his first start in 31 NBA career games.
“Won’t be much different for me,” said the 32-year-old Collison, who was making his 170th career start in nine seasons. “Getting in the game earlier will be a little bit different, but once I get over that after the first couple possessions it’ll be fine for me.”
Despite missing his first start since the 2010-11 season, Ibaka was still upbeat one hour before tipoff.
“I’m good. I’m good,” Ibaka said. “Just a little sore, but I’ll be fine.”
Ibaka said it doesn’t hurt to breathe or move, but his status for Monday night’s game at Phoenix remains in doubt. “We’ll see how it’s going then,” Ibaka said.
Sefolosha will likely be replaced by sixth man Kevin Martin.
“We’ll definitely miss Serge, but we have a lot of trust in Nick,” starting center Kendrick Perkins said.
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