It doesn't sound like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be back out on the floor for the Oklahoma City Thunder this season. On Tuesday, Thunder coach Mark Daigneault revealed that Gilgeous-Alexander suffered a "significant tear" in his plantar fascia. Gilgeous-Alexander has been sidelined since March 24 with the injury.
"It's not something that you should really mess around with," Daigneault said. "If we got aggressive with him, it could compromise him long term, which makes no sense for us for a player that is as important to our franchise as he is."
Gilgeous-Alexander has only played in 35 games for the Thunder this season, but he was great when he was out on the floor as he posted averages of 23.7 points, 5.9 assists and 4.7 rebounds per performance. Given his importance to the team moving forward, it's not surprising that the Thunder are being extremely cautious with the young guard. Plus, the Thunder are in full rebuild mode at this point in time, and as a result they're not in the business of winning games, which Gilgeous-Alexander helps them do. Keeping him sidelined and making sure he's fully healthy while also ensuring the best possible draft pick makes sense for Oklahoma City. The Thunder currently sit in the No. 13 seed in the West with a 21-44 record and with just seven games remaining, there would be little to be gained from bringing him back.
"At the end of the day, we're going to do the best that we can," Daigneault said. "Every team's going through some version of this because of all the circumstances. This is our particular case. At the end of the day, we're not going to sacrifice anything long-term with any of our players, but certainly with a guy like Shai, and that's, I don't know the details of that, our medical people handle that, but until somebody comes to me and says 'Hey, this guy's ready to rock and it's not going to compromise him at all in the long-term,' then I'm on board with doing what we're doing with him and being really, really cautious."
All eyes are on the future in Oklahoma City. The Thunder have a ridiculous amount of draft picks over the next few years, and that combined with the promising play of Gilgeous-Alexander and other young players like Darius Bazley, Luguentz Dort and Aleksej Pokuševski, provides plenty of reason for optimism.
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