ORLANDO — Reggie Jackson emerged from the locker room sporting a shiner and three stitches above a left eye that was swollen halfway shut.
Thirty minutes earlier, a stream of blood had streaked down the side of his face, the result of a laceration he obtained in a clumsy collision with Thunder teammate Daniel Orton.
It was the culmination of a trying day that never needed to be for Jackson.
The third-year point guard, making his debut at the 2013 Orlando Pro Summer League on Monday, trudged through a largely woeful performance, a nightmarish outing from which only his second-half injury could save him.
Jackson's final stat line in the Thunder's 79-78 win over Orlando credited him for four points on 2-for-7 shooting. He had four rebounds, four assists and four fouls. He committed seven turnovers in just 17 minutes.
“You're going to have growing pains,” Jackson said. “Today, even back there getting stitches, I still was feeling confidence in myself. You have bad games. I had a terrible game. But oh well. You can't do nothing about it right now. I just got to move on and try to get better from it.”
Jackson didn't always have that approach.
But that's why Jackson is in Orlando this week. That's why Jackson, after a promising playoff debut, suited up for summer league again when he easily could have left it alone.
The Thunder asked Jackson to be a part of the group once again this year and he graciously accepted. The team extended the invitation knowing that Jackson was capable of imparting wisdom upon his younger teammates.
Though he too has much to improve upon, Jackson's lone goal this week is simple.
“Be a leader,” he said.
By the end of the week, Jackson might find that he got more out of giving his time than he provided the young players he's giving it to. With an expected role increase — potentially as the team's newest sixth man — Jackson can only benefit from spending a week as a leader.