The words written on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s Instagram post were clear and concise.
“Dear basketball, I miss you.”
The 22-year-old, amidst a breakout season with the Thunder, has now been sidelined for 13 games due to plantar fasciitis, with no timetable for his return.
"He's definitely progressed, but not to the point that we would've liked," said Oklahoma City head coach Mark Daigneault. "He's probably a little bit behind what we were hoping for."
Gilgeous-Alexander was averaging 23.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.9 assists per game. He’d ramped up his game even more in the last 10 games, averaging 26.0 points while shooting 44-percent from three in that span.
But for now, the only highlights we’ll see of SGA are his inspired cheers from the sideline when his peers make plays.
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“He’s just been so engaged and really it just boils down to the fact that he wants to be part of the group,” Daigneault said following a loss to the Pistons. “He’s a great teammate, he loves investing in his teammates. He loves being with the guys, even in the locker room before the game — he loves hanging with those guys. He does everything he can to plug into the group and plug into the team.”
Daigneault said the Thunder will reevaluate their budding star in two weeks. With only 16 games left in the season, it will need to be a quick turnaround for Gilgeous-Alexander to see the court again this season.
At end of the day he’s building incredible equity with the group right now, cause we’re going through obviously a difficult stretch,” Daigneault said. “And there’s no one that brings more positive energy into a group every single day than Shai does.”