Thunder Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Addresses Lingering Injury

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

Getty Shai Gilgeous-Alexander didn't let a quad injury affect him against the Pelicans.

The Oklahoma City Thunder had to work for their milestone victory. OKC reached the 50-win total for the first time since the 2015-16 season, but it wasn’t easy as they blew a 20-point lead only to rally for a 119-112 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander knocked down a game-tying 3-pointer with 1:29 left that ignited a 10-0 Thunder run to close out the game. While all eyes were on SGA’s big shot, some noticed that he was seen hobbling around the court during the final minutes of play.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Briefly Touches on Quad Injury

Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 24 points and eight assists as the Thunder improved to 50-21 and climbed withing a half-game of the Western Conference-leading Denver Nuggets.

Gilgeous-Alexander has been the leader of a young Thunder team making plenty of noise this season. The 24 points against the Pelicans were well below his season average of 30.4. That may have had a little to do with a nagging quad, an injury he addressed after the game.

“Little banged up in my quad since the Utah game,” he told reporters. “Just take it day by day and see how I feel when I wake up. Yeah, that’s pretty much it.”

OKC head coach Mark Daignault admitted his star player isn’t at full strength.

“He was out there tonight,” Daigneault said, “but he’s banged up for sure. He’s not 100 percent. We’re monitoring it.”

While Gilgeous-Alexander was affected by the injury, he gutted it out in the final two minutes to help OKC pull away. He said he put the injury out of his mind and wanted to be out there if he wasn’t a liability.

“Just not be a liability out there,” he said of his mentality in the final minutes. “Try to be aggressive.

“Last two minutes, you try to fight through those two minutes and figure it out after.”

Gilgeous-Alexander Praises Thunder’s Maturity Level

The future is bright for basketball in Oklahoma City. The Thunder have a strong young core, led by Gilgeous-Alexander, Chet Holmgren, and Josh Giddey. At 25, Gilgeous-Alexander is the mentor of the group. Holmgren and Giddey are both 21.

While they may be young, Gilgeous-Alexander praised the maturity the team showed against the Pelicans. After blowing the 20-point lead, they came together and rallied from a 112-107 deficit with 3:11 remaining.

“We stuck to our game plan, I would say, through the first two quarters and halfway through the third pretty much,” Gilgeous-Alexander said. “Got away from it a little bit. They started getting in transition, getting downhill, and it really opened up their 3-point shooting.

“They had some momentum going into the fourth. I think we did a good job of course-correcting and getting back into the game. We went to what we had done previously to build the lead. It just speaks to our maturity and our poise as a group to be able to get back on track and not wait until after the game and say we should’ve fixed it. We fixed it in the moment, and we did it in time to get a W.”

Read More