Thunder: Terrance Ferguson out, Abdel Nader starting at Portland
PORTLAND – Thunder guard Terrance Ferguson (right hip soreness) is sidelined for OKC's game at Portland Sunday. Abdel Nader will start in his place, Thunder coach Billy Donovan announced before the game.
"We need him," Donovan said of Nader, "to keep him ready, keep giving him confidence."
Donovan said he anticipates Ferguson will sit out Monday at Utah as well.
"I think they're really trying to get some time where that can quiet down," Donovan said. "And I think what they don't want to do is put him in a position where potentially he re-aggravates his hip and it sets him back even further."
The same injury sidelined Ferguson against the Timberwolves Friday. This season, the defensive stopper is averaging 26 minutes in 19 starts.
For the second straight game, OKC is short on wing depth. Hamidou Diallo remains sidelined by a hyperextension sprain in his right elbow. He is scheduled to be evaluated in another two to four weeks. In addition, on Saturday the Thunder assigned Deonte Burton to its G League affiliate, the OKC Blue.
OKC has assigned Burton to the Blue for two other games this season, in which he averaged 19 points, six rebounds and five assists. He missed the Thunder’s overtime victory against Minnesota while serving a one-game suspension for “conduct detrimental to the team.”
Donovan said Burton is with the Blue to get more minutes, not because of the locker room altercation he was reportedly suspended for.
"That's over and done with," Donovan said. "I think for us , and I think we've talked about really since the beginning of the year, the biggest thing for our team, especially our younger players is trying to help these guys develop."
Two-way contract players Luguentz Dort and Devon Hall both made the trip to Portland to provide more options at wing.
Tipoff Sunday, between OKC and Portland, is scheduled for 8 p.m..