The Thunder’s Injury Concerns Could Mean an Upset in San Antonio Tonight

January 10, 2019 | insideinjuries | No Comments

There could be an upset in San Antonio tonight as the Spurs take on the Thunder. Oklahoma City currently holds the No. 3 spot in the West, and the Spurs come in at No. 7. The lines in Vegas are suggesting that the higher seeded team should come out on top (Thunder -1.5), but the Thunder’s Injury Risk is a concern. A healthy Spurs team could keep the Thunder from covering (and winning).

The only injury concern facing the Spurs is Rudy Gay’s left wrist sprain. Gay has been ruled out for tonight’s game, which is no small thing considering Gay is the team’s third best scorer, second best rebounder, and is fifth in assists. The rest of the starting lineup will be playing at a Peak Health Performance Factor (our metric for measuring player performance). The Overall Team Health Performance Factor is also at Peak (84%), and the Overall Team Injury Risk is Elevated (17%). It’s also worth noting that the HPF of the Spurs’ top 5 scorers is Peak. Barring a freak injury, they should be on their A-game.

The Thunder are another story. The team’s Overall Injury Risk is High at 26% compared to the Spurs at 17%. While the Thunder’s Overall Health Performance Factor is Above Average (75%), it is still almost 9 points lower than the Spurs. The Health Performance of the top 5 scorers for the Thunder (Elevated 75%) is also 5 points lower than the Spurs.

OKC is expected to be without Nerlens Noel tonight after he suffered a nasty concussion two days ago. He took a hard elbow to the head, knocking him unconscious, and then slammed his head again on the court as he fell. After being taken to the hospital, it was determined that thankfully Noel did not suffer any fractures, but he’s dealing with a moderate concussion. Noel is the team’s fifth best rebounder.

The other concern here is the High Injury Risk of OKC’s two best players: Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Russell leads the team in rebounds and assists, and is the second best scorer. George takes home the title of the team’s highest scorer. Though neither player is currently injured, they have dealt with various injuries this season and are at risk of suffering another injury tonight. Dennis Schroder, who comes in at No. 2 with assists and No. 4 in scoring, is also recovering from a quad injury and is not yet 100%.

Having so many of their top players at a High Injury Risk puts the Thunder in a vulnerable position for tonight’s game game against the Spurs. Though the Thunder are currently favored at -1.5, Inside Injuries metrics suggest they won’t be able to cover. With a health roster and home-court advantage, the Spurs should put up a winning fight.