Four bags of ice and three large bandages lay on the floor in front of Reggie Jackson’s locker.
The way he was hobbling around the locker room, he looked like he would need all of it. But after the Thunder guard had showered and dressed and addressed the media, the ice and the bandages remained.
Good news for Jackson.
Even better news for the Thunder.
On a night when the Thunder thrashed the Spurs 105-92 and evened the Western Conference Finals, Oklahoma City had another injury scare. Jackson sprained his right ankle early in Game 4, and Thunder Nation gasped.
Because everyone could see in Game 3 how important Jackson was to this team. Inserted into the starting lineup Sunday, he scored 15 points, grabbed four rebounds, dished five assists and helped the Thunder turn this series around. Even though the focus was on Serge Ibaka’s return from a calf injury, Jackson had a big hand in opening up the floor for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, among other things.
Tuesday, more of the same was expected.
Then as he drove to the basket only a few minutes into the game, he stepped on Danny Green’s shoe. Jackson went to the left and then to the right, and then, his right ankle turned awkwardly.
The outside bone nearly touched hardwood.
He collapsed on the court, grabbing his ankle. He rolled over, sprang to his feet and gimped to the other end of the court, trying to run off the injury. He stayed in the game, but as the Spurs brought the ball up court, Jackson seemed to realize that he wasn’t going to be able to stay with his man.
He pawed at Green to draw a foul and get himself out of the game. Jackson hobbled past the bench, into the tunnel and to the locker room.
Soon after, the Thunder said Jackson’s return was questionable.
Which, apparently, in Thunder vernacular during these playoffs means, “He’ll be right back after the next timeout.”
Jackson was back on the court to start the second quarter. He only played a little over a minute in the second but then played eight minutes in the third quarter. He managed only three points, three rebounds and two assists in the game, but had the Spurs made this more of a game and had Jeremy Lamb not played well in Jackson’s absence — seven points, three rebounds, three steals — Jackson would have played more.