Thabo Sefolosha went through a portion of the Thunder's practice Monday, and coach Scott Brooks said his shooting guard “looked good.”
There is still no firm timeline on when Sefolosha will return to the lineup. He's missed 22 straight games with what the team is calling right foot soreness. All signs, however, point to Sefolosha getting closer and closer to a return.
“We'll see how he feels (Tuesday) and we'll go from there,” Brooks said.
Sefolosha hasn't played since Jan. 27 at Golden State. The nagging injury knocked him out of the second half that night against the Warriors. Monday was Sefolosha's first practice since Jan. 24.
“We're just going slowly because this is our first practice in a long time and it's his first practice in a long time,” Brooks said. “We didn't want to put him through an entire practice. But he went through a portion of it and looked good.”
Because of the lengthy hiatus, Brooks said Sefolosha naturally will be rusty when returns to the lineup. But Brooks also said Sefolosha has maintained his conditioning as best he can while out.
“Our guys do a great job of keeping our guys in shape,” Brooks said. “But there's nothing like on-court practice conditioning. And the next step is game conditioning. He doesn't have that, but it's going to come fairly quick. But they did everything that they could possibly do to keep his conditioning (up).
“It's always good to see him on the floor. He does so many good things for us defensively that he's going to be important moving forward.”
Sefolosha was seen working with assistant Maurice Cheeks after practice Monday, shooting catch-and-shoot 3-pointers from various spots. Sefolosha made a ton of shots and didn't seem to have any trouble jumping. Thunder guard James Harden said it's good to have Sefolosha back.
“It seems like it's been forever,” Harden said. “He came in with that energy, that defensive presence and really got after it…”
DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME
Under normal circumstances, the Thunder would just now be at the halfway point in the season. But because of the lockout-shortened season, instead of another 41 games the Thunder has only 25 games remaining.
And now is the time to get serious.
“I think this last part of the season we want to finish strong,” Harden said. “We want to find our groove and who we are; build that defensive chemistry up in finishing these 25 games off. …Going into the playoffs, (we want to) just get into a groove and get in sync to where everybody's on a roll and everybody's clicking and we're playing as one. These 25 games are really going to help us.”
HARDEN HOT AND HAPPY
After not reaching the 30-point plateau in his first 2 1/2 seasons, Harden recorded a career-high twice in four days last week when he scored 30 points against Phoenix before pumping in 33 points against Charlotte.