Guard Thabo Sefolosha will return to the starting lineup tonight for the Thunder’s game at Denver. He has missed the last 23 games due to an injured right foot.
“We’re going to slowly integrate him like we do with all players who have been out for six or seven weeks,” OKC coach Scott Brooks said after Thursday morning’s shoot-around session at the Pepsi Center. “I don’t know how many minutes (he will play). We’ll just slowly work him in, but he will start tonight.”
Sefolosha was replaced in the starting lineup by James Harden for two games and for 22 games by Daequan Cook. The Thunder is 16-8 without Sefolosha this season. He missed one game earlier in the season with the flu, which was a loss at home to Portland.
“He just brings a pure heart to the team,” Brooks said of Sefolosha, who last played Jan. 27 at Golden State. “He just wants to defend and do the right things on both ends of the floor. You can never have enough guys on the court like that. He’s a defending guy. He’s a serious competitor. We miss his toughness. We miss his length on the defensive end. He’s 6-(foot)-7 with long arms ( a 7-foot wingspan) and he loves to defend. It’s going to take him some time. … Thabo’s been working. He’s been waiting for this opportunity again. We’re excited to have him back.”