Important Injury Update For Thunder Ahead Of Opener

While most observers around the NBA feel that the Oklahoma City Thunder will be tanking once again this season in an attempt to win the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes, it appears they'll have their best player—Shai Gilgeous-Alexander—in the lineup for Opening Night.

An MCL sprain kept Gilgeous-Alexander out of the entire preseason schedule, but head coach Mark Daigneault says "the injury, I think, is behind him. We're always very careful when we're bringing guys back... (but) he's progressing well... We're expecting him to be ready to go (for opening night against the Minnesota Timberwolves)."

The 24-year-old Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 24.5 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.9 assists in 56 games last season, but finished the year with a right ankle injury. He's entering the first year of a five-year, $179M extension in OKC.

The Thunder will already be without the No. 2 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft, Chet Holmgren, for the entire season due to a Lisfranc injury to his right foot suffered this summer. 

They still have a promising young core with Shai, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort and Holmgren when he returns next year. But whether they will be in all-out tank mode once again this season remains to be seen.

Photo: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports