Andre Roberson “feels really good” as he tries to return to the NBA following a long injury-related absence, his father John tells Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Roberson has been sidelined since rupturing his left patellar tendon in January of 2018. He had hoped to return last season, but his comeback was derailed by two injuries during rehab.
“I know that was disappointing for him, not being able to go out there and help the way he wanted to help,” John Roberson said. “For me, it’s more important for him to be 100 percent as opposed to going out there and messing himself up further, or being a detriment to the team as opposed to being someone that’s going to actually help the team.”
Before the injury, Roberson was building a reputation as one of the NBA’s best perimeter defenders. Even though he never averaged more than 6.6 PPG in a season or shot better than 31.1% on 3-pointers, he was a valuable starter on a Thunder team that was consistently among the league’s best.
Roberson was optimistic that he would be ready early in the 2018/19 season, but an avulsion fracture was discovered in November that set back his rehab schedule. His father said it became a matter of “mental warfare.”
“‘Rest. Let your leg heal. Stop doing so much. Let it heal all the way then you can recondition,’” John said. “I know he wanted to stay in condition while this healing was going on just in case he did happen to get on the court and start playing. But that’s something you’ve got to heal totally in order to start getting back to 100 percent.”
Entering the final season of a three-year, $30MM contract, Roberson faces an uncertain NBA future. The Thunder have made major changes since he last played, trading away Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Jerami Grant this summer, while bringing in Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the new foundation of the team.
It’s not clear how Roberson fits into that new group, but he’s eager for a chance to find out.
“He feels really good,” his father said. “When you get injured, it takes a toll on you mentally because you’re constantly doubting yourself and that things are going to hold up mentally. I think that’s the biggest hurdle he’s had to get over. I think he’s at that point where training camp will tell a whole lot.”