Kendrick Perkins will miss two to three weeks with a sprained left knee, Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Saturday.
Perkins, the space-eating 6-foot-10 center, sustained the injury in his final game with Boston on Tuesday against Golden State. The Celtics on Thursday then agreed to trade Perkins and guard Nate Robinson to the Thunder in exchange for Jeff Green, Nenad Krstic and a future first-round pick.
Prior to the trade, Celtics management had announced that Perkins would miss at least one week.
“I believe in our medical team,” Brooks said. “If they feel it’s two to three weeks then I’m comfortable with that. I just want to know when he comes back he’s ready to play at the level that he’s able to play at.”
The timetable puts Perkins on the shelf through at least March 12, meaning the earliest he is likely to join the lineup is March 13 at Cleveland. But the Thunder is purposely proceeding with caution with Perkins, who missed this season’s first 43 games while recovering from a right knee injury he sustained in Game 6 of last year’s NBA Finals.
A more likely target date is March 18, when the Thunder begins a six-game home stand against Charlotte.
Perkins doesn’t mind being patient.
“I’m just going to listen to whatever the doctors tell me,” Perkins said. “I’ll just keep working, trying to get back as soon as possible. I’m just here for the long haul. As long as I can get me some good games in in the regular season, get a good push going into the playoffs, I think I’m going to be all right.”
Brooks said his starting lineup will again consist of Russell Westbrook, Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison on Sunday afternoon against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Newly acquired center Nazr Mohammed, who came over in a trade from Charlotte that sent D.J. White and Morris Peterson to the Bobcats, will be in uniform and is expected to play.
“It’s nice having another big that has some valuable experience. He can come in and step in,” Brooks said. “I envision him playing tomorrow. I don’t know how many minutes. We won’t put in a big package while he’s in the game, but enough that will put him in a position to have success.”
With Westbrook and steady backup point guard Eric Maynor, Brooks said it will be tough to find minutes for the 5-foot-9 Robinson. Even at shooting guard, Daequan Cook has created a bit of a logjam alongside Sefolosha and reserve James Harden.
“There might be some times and some opportunities where the game needs what Nate brings,” Brooks said. “Initially, it’s going to be a feel thing; see how the game is going, see how the flow is going.
“He’s a tough kid that plays hard and he plays with his heart. I love him. I love what he brings.”