ORLANDO — The Oklahoma City Thunder went through their first practice in the Orlando bubble this evening. After arriving around 9 pm local time on Wednesday evening, the Thunder went through a mandatory self-isolation period from then until 5 pm today.
Following practice, Billy Donovan revealed that Andre Roberson fully practiced today with the team.
“He participated in everything fully,” Donovan said via Zoom. “He looked really good. We will see where he goes as we continue to move forward.”
Donovan said that Roberson had only participated in individual drills back in Oklahoma City following June 23. That had little to do with what Roberson was capable of and more to do with the NBA social distancing protocols.
“This was the first time we’ve all been together since the locker room of the Jazz game,” Donovan mentioned. March 11 was 121 days ago.
Roberson has not played since January 27, 2018 when he injured his left patellar tendon. He later hit a snag in his recovery later that December and was forced to undergo another procedure in his knee.
Since then, Roberson has been unable to consistently stay on the practice floor. During training camp for the start of the 2019-20 season, Roberson participated in full 5-5 practices. Afterwards, he wasn’t able to remain on the practice floor in 5-5 drills with full contact.
During the season, Donovan spoke about the importance of Roberson’s ability to be able to endure the conditioning and the physical toll of playing consecutive games. It appeared that Roberson was able to perform well, but not to the extent that is required for an NBA player.
With an unprecedented hiatus, Roberson has been afforded extra time to rehab. Time that has apparently done well for him.
“He’s great,” Danilo Gallinari added. “He looked great.”
What will ultimately determine if Roberson will be able to play with the Thunder will be his body’s ability to fully participate day after day, night after night. The Thunder, as well as the other 21 participating teams in Orlando, are essentially going through training camp again to prepare for the seeding games, beginning on July 30.
The Thunder will practice again on Sunday.
Brady Trantham has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for The Franchise since April 2018 and for Thunder Digest since 2016. He hosts a Thunder podcast with Madysson Morris “OKC-82 Podcast” which can be found on all podcast outlets, and is a co-host on the Franchise Thunder Insider’s Show on Saturdays from 10-12. Brady is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma class of 2014. Follow him on Twitter @BradyDoesSports