Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha is nearing a return from a calf injury that has kept him out of action since Feb. 28, and he could rejoin the lineup on this current four-game road trip.
“Thabo will be back soon,” said Thunder coach Scott Brooks before Friday’s game at Houston. “Don’t know exactly what date.”
Sefolosha said he will “hopefully” play before the end of this current trip but added that his priority is his health and not playing as many games as possible before the end of the regular season.
But it appears Sefolosha is making great progress. Before the Thunder faced the Rockets, Sefolosha went through a rigorous on-court workout, which was viewed as another step forward. But he has yet to participate in a practice or shootaround, which makes Sunday’s game at Phoenix an unlikely return date. Tuesday’s game at Sacramento could be a more realistic target.
Sefolosha has now missed 16 straight games after sustaining the left calf strain during a home game against Memphis. Rookie guard Andre Roberson continues to start in Sefolosha’s place.
JACKSON MORE CONFIDENT
Reggie Jackson’s recent spike in production has widely been credited to the third-year point guard playing with more confidence.
In his last six games entering Friday night, Jackson averaged 15 points on 48.4 percent shooting, with 5.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 1.2 steals in 34.3 minutes. He had made 45 percent of his 3-point attempts.
“He’s playing with a level of confidence that we need,” Brooks said. “He has the ability to make shots. He has the ability to get to the paint. And he’s doing a good job of finding his teammates. That’s something that we’ve been working on all season long is to get easy shots for his teammates also. And his defense has picked up. We take pride in being a two-way team, and we have to have all players committed to that. And I give him an uptick in that area in the last 10 or 12 games.”
Brooks on Durant’s 25-point scoring streak — “Just the consistency of 25. I mean, I had a couple of those myself but “Did not Play.” Thirty-nine consecutive games not playing a game, that was pretty consistent on my part.”
After a back-to-back set Thursday and Friday, the Thunder will have an off day in Phoenix on Saturday. But players and coaches will gather at the team hotel to watch the Final Four as a group...Thunder guard Russell Westbrook and Kendrick Perkins were both held out to rest Friday while the team monitors their minutes and limits them to one game on back-to-backs...Rockets center Dwight Howard (ankle) and point guard Patrick Beverley (knee) did not play Friday due to injuries...Howard on Friday received the NBA’s community assist award for March in recognition of his charitable contributions in the Greater Houston area. At the end of the first quarter, Howard was presented a plaque by NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier and Rockets executive Tad Brown.
The Thunder will resume this four-game road trip on Sunday at Phoenix. The three-game series is tied at one game apiece. Phoenix won the last meeting, 128-122, inside US Airways Center on March 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.