Group effort needed to make up for loss of Roberson

(Photo by Torrey Purvey)

By Michael Kinney

OKLAHOMA CITY- Andre Roberson is not considered an elite player in the NBA. He has never made an all-star game and for all intensive purposes, plays on one side of the ball.

Despite that, Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan was adamant, Roberson is not the type of player that can be replaced.

“You don’t replace him,” Donovan said Sunday. “It’s no different than having a guy that gets 25 points a game and goes out. You’re not going to have one person replace 25 points. You’re not going to just have one person replace Andre’s defense.”

Roberson is out for the rest of the 2018 season after he suffered a ruptured left patellar tendon Saturday evening during a win over the Detroit Pistons. The injury came in the third quarter when he tried to go up for an alley up and his knee buckled.

After laying on the floor for several agonizing minutes, Roberson was taken off the floor on a stretcher. It wasn’t long afterward that word came on how serious the injury was.

Roberson underwent a successful procedure today to repair a ruptured left patellar tendon, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Carlan Yates of the McBride Orthopedic Hospital in Oklahoma City.

In 39 games this season Roberson is averaging 5.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.15 steals in 26.6 minutes.

But, according to his teammates, the numbers do not tell the real story of Roberson’s impact on the team.

“He’s a huge part of our team and why we win. It’s a huge blow to us. We’re just going to have to rely on some other players to step up,” Thunder center Steven Adams said. “You’re dealing with a very talented individual. Anyone goes down here, you can’t replace them.”

Carmelo Anthony also acknowledged replacing Roberson has to be a group effort.

“We never want to play games without him,” Oklahoma City forward Carmelo Anthony said. “Now it’s back to guys stepping up and whoever is called to be in that position has to be ready. We do have something good going for us right now. Whoever steps into that place has to be ready to perform.”

Rookie Terrance Ferguson was inserted into Roberson’s off-guard spot Sunday when Oklahoma City hosted the Philadelphia 76ers. He is averaging 3.2 ppg this season.

When Roberson missed games earlier this month, it was Ferguson who got the start in his place. But Donovan said this doesn’t mean it’s Ferguson’s spot permanently.

“I think Terrance has a really good awareness of himself,” Donovan said. “He doesn’t really try to do too much that is out of his realm. He needs to really lock in defensively. He’s going to try and do whatever he can to help our team. I don’t view it as Terrance’s spot. We’ve got to look at what’s best for the team.”

Michael Kinney is a Freelance Content Writer with Eyeamtruth.com

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