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Thunder's Kendrick Perkins happy to be on practice court

by Darnell Mayberry Published: March 10, 2011

Though it might be the last time we see it all season, the moment certainly called for it.

On Thursday, following his first practice with his new team, Kendrick Perkins substituted his menacing scowl with a few mini smiles.

Try as he might, the Oklahoma City Thunder center just couldn't hide his happiness.

Perkins had just returned to the court with a full complement of teammates for the first time since Feb. 22, when he sprained the MCL in his left knee in a game against Golden State. Two days later, the Thunder acquired him in a four-player trade with Boston.

Thursday's session was the biggest step forward Perkins has made in his journey toward taking his place as the Thunder's starting center. And the big man was pleased with his first practice.

“It was kind of better than what I expected,” Perkins said. “I was going all-out, testing it out. My knee is fine. It wasn't bothering me at all.”

Not even the slightest discomfort?

“Not today,” he said. “Thank God.”

Perkins is officially listed as day-to-day. Thunder coach Scott Brooks did not rule out Perkins for Friday night's game against Detroit. Brooks added that there is no set number of practices he would like Perkins to participate in before playing him.

“It's going to come down to how he feels and what he's picked up on. And we all have to be comfortable,” Brooks said. “But I thought (Thursday) was a good start. It was good to see him out there. Our players were excited to see him out there. We'll see how he feels (Friday) and go through the shootaround and go from there.”

Following Friday night's game, the Thunder has a three-game road trip starting at Cleveland on Sunday, then going to Washington on Monday and ending with a nationally televised game at Miami on Wednesday. The Thunder begins a six-game home stand next Friday against Charlotte.

Though Perkins said he wants to play Friday night, he expressed patience and reiterated his long-term health is more important than suiting up with a focus on the short-term benefits.

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by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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