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Nerlens Noel has surgery on fractured cheek bone, will be re-evaluated next week

Thunder can’t stay healthy in the front court and could be without Noel for an extended period of time again.

Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel sits on the bench during the first half against the Charlotte Hornets at Spectrum Center. Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma City Thunder C Nerlens Noel underwent surgery to repair a fractured cheek bone and will be re-evaluated next week. He won’t play Saturday vs. the Timberwolves.

The Thunder are really struggling to keep their front court healthy. Steven Adams has dealt with knee and ankle injuries for the past couple weeks. Noel had returned from an ankle injury but will now miss some time after surgery. We’ll see if OKC decides to make a move to shore up its center depth before the NBA Trade Deadline.

Fantasy basketball analysis: Oklahoma City Thunder C Nerlens Noel

Adams was ruled out Friday vs. the Hawks and it’s unclear if he’ll return to the lineup Saturday night. If he does, the Thunder are in an OK spot, but behind Adams things get very thin. Danilo Gallinari will continue to see minutes at PF and Mike Muscala will have to play some center with no Nerlens. Muscala is 0.3% owned on ESPN in season-long but isn’t really a viable replacement. He lacks upside and we’d likely just see the Thunder run 3 or 4 guard sets with Adams or Gallinari.

Darius Bazley is the only other forward on the roster and could see time at the 4 if Noel is sidelined past this weekend. He’s actually put up decent numbers when given the playing time, but again, not much upside unless you’re in a very deep league.