Roster depleted by injuries
Injuries shortened the Thunder’s roster to only nine active players for Thursday night’s game against Phoenix. Earl Watson missed his first game of the exhibition season with a sore right calf, and Chris Wilcox did not play because of shin and ankle injuries.
"That coupled with the back-to-back makes it difficult,” said coach P.J. Carlesimo
. "In one sense you have to stretch out some guys’ minutes. In the other sense we don’t want to stretch out the guys like Kevin (Durant)
and Jeff (Green)
and Nick (Collison)
who are just coming back from some injuries.”
Carlesimo went with a starting lineup of rookie Russell Westbrook
, Durant, Green, Collison and Johan Petro
Thunder assistant coach Paul Westhead
now likens road games in Phoenix to a homecoming.
Westhead coached the Phoenix Mercury in 2006 and 2007, winning the WNBA championship in his final season and becoming the only coach to win a championship in the NBA and WNBA.
Westhead proudly looked to the rafters at US Airways Center shortly before tip-off to find his Mercury team’s banner as the arena’s lone display of championship success.