Dort hurts knee as OKC readies for Rockets serieson August 13, 2020 at 6:52 am

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Luguentz Dort left in the first quarter against the Miami Heat on Wednesday with a knee injury and did not return. Coach Billy Donovan said after the game he didn’t know the extent of the injury.

Dort will get an MRI and a further update will be provided, likely on Thursday.

“Hopefully it’s not too serious and he’ll be back sooner than later,” Donovan said.

As he fought through a screen, Dort collided with the Heat’s Jae Crowder and immediately grabbed at his right knee. Crowder also exited the game, but Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the was no concern of a serious injury.

“He says he’s doing fine,” Spoesltra said. “We’ll see how he feels tomorrow, and we’ll go from there.

“He already had an X-ray. Everything was clean on that, and we’ll just go from there.”

An extended injury to Dort would be a significant loss for the Thunder, who were just now getting whole after being without guard Dennis Schroder, who was away for six games for the birth of his child.

“We’re not really going to know what our team looks like until we have our full complement of players,” Donovan said. “We’re hopeful that maybe can happen for the Clipper game on Friday and see all those guys out there before the playoffs.”

Dort has been a key player for the Thunder, taking over as their full-time starting shooting guard in January. Before the hiatus, the Thunder were 16-5 with Dort as the starter.

An undrafted rookie out of Arizona State, the 21-year-old is averaging 6.9 points and 2.3 rebounds. Dort began the season on one of the Thunder’s two-way contacts, but he was signed to a four-year deal before the restart in Orlando, Florida.

Dort has become one of the Thunder’s top defenders, typically taking the assignment of the opposing team’s best player.

Losing Dort for the Thunder’s opening-round series could be a major factor as the Thunder clinched a series against the Houston Rockets with their win. Forward Mike Muscala drained back-to-back 3s to finish off a 22-point second-half comeback for Oklahoma City in a 116-115 victory that also ensured the Philadelphia 76ers get the Thunder’s 2020 protected first-round pick.

It’s a spicy first-round series that matches familiar faces: Russell Westbrook against the Thunder and Chris Paul against the Rockets.

“It’ll be interesting,” Paul said. “Two teams that know a lot about each other. We’ll prepare, get ready and we’ll see what’s what.”

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