Thunder power forward Nick Collison practiced Thursday with teammates for the first time this season. However, forward Jeff Green still has not practiced or played since spraining his left ankle last Saturday and is not expected to play in Friday night's 8:30 contest against Portland at Oklahoma City Arena.
Collison has been doing individual work with an assistant coach all week, but was limited to non-contact drills when practicing alongside teammates. "It's good to be back with the guys," said the 30-year-old Collison, who had off-season surgery on his right knee.
Collison said he still has no exact timetable for his return, but this week proves his ailing left leg has improved. Another MRI has been scheduled and Collison said he will continue to add to his workload, but with caution.
â€œIt's tough watching, but we've waited this long (to return),â€ Collison said. â€œYou would hate to do something too soon now and screw it all up. We've invested a lot of time to try and do it right, so we'll continue with that.â€
Thunder backup guard James Harden is gradually breaking out of an early shooting slump.
After starting out 4 for 23 from the field, Harden had made 8 of his last 14 shots and 3 of 7 from 3-point range. Wednesday night against Philadelphia included a high-flying, ally-oop dunk off a feed from Russell Westbrook.
Asked if a 3-pointer or a dunk brings him greater satisfaction, Harden said: â€œEither-or. Definitely a 3 can get the crowd hyped and everything, but obviously a dunk can do the same. It's an energy thing.â€
Thunder coach Scott Brooks has maintained confidence in Harden, playing him an average of 21.8 minutes per game despite the struggles.