It may have been nearly a year since he took the floor for a practice, and more than two years since he played in a real game, but Andre Roberson left his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates impressed after their practice on Friday near Orlando, Florida, ahead of the league’s restart later this month.
Roberson, who ruptured his patellar tendon in 2018, has been battling injury ever since.
"He looked really, really good in terms of the way he was moving," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said Friday, via ESPN. "It was great to see him out there. I was really happy for him. But like we've talked about in the past, we'll see how he can continue to build up and develop here over the next week, but he was out there today and he participated in everything."
Roberson went down while attempting to catch a lob in January 2018, and ruptured his left patellar tendon. He underwent surgery days later, and was expected to miss the rest of the season. He underwent a second surgery two months later, and continued to struggle with his left knee throughout the 2018-19 season.
The 28-year-old entered training camp this year with no restrictions, but eventually stepped away from the team to continue his rehab in December.
It’s unclear how much Roberson will be able to play for the Thunder when play resumes on July 30, more than four months after play was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Thunder currently sit in fifth in the Western Conference with a 41-23 record.
He was averaging five points and 4.7 rebounds for Oklahoma City during the 2017-18 season and had been a constant starter in its lineup following his rookie season. He is in the final year of a three-year, $30 million deal, and will be a free agent after the season.
Regardless of his impact in Florida, the Thunder are thrilled to simply have him back.
“For a guy to go through all the things that's he's been through, and me to get back to Oklahoma during the [hiatus] and see he was out on the court working, and to actually play, I'm so happy for him,” point guard Chris Paul said, via ESPN. “He's had some of the toughest times that people wouldn't even know. Unbelievably happy to see him out there playing and practicing."
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