The Thunder say center Nerlens Noel had surgery to repair a fracture to the zygomatic arch of his left cheek. He will miss tonight’s game against the Minnesota Timberwolves and his status will be updated next week.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) January 25, 2020
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.