Former Kentucky Wildcat and current Portland Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter suffered a bruised right hand during the first half of Game 2 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.
According to the Trail Blazers, Kanter had an x-ray taken during halftime of that game but was cleared to return – which he did. Although, not without experiencing some discomfort throughout the rest of the game.
During Friday’s shootaround, Kanter said he still expects to play in Game 3 on Friday night.
“It’s good actually, still a little hurts,” said Kanter. “I don’t think it’s 100 percent, but it’s the playoffs, you have to be 100 percent every game. So I’m just not going to worry about it, just go out there and play.”
The Blazers currently hold a 2-0 series lead over the Thunder in the first round of the Western Conference Playoffs. Kanter was excellent in Game 1, posting 20 points and 18 rebounds, but foul trouble in Game 2 limited him to only six points and five rebounds. Kanter had three fouls at halftime of Game 2 and injured his hand in the second quarter, which could have also contributed to his lack of minutes.
Regardless, Kanter has been an important piece for the Blazers thus far and should be for whatever remains of this series. Heading back to OKC – Kanter’s first road playoff game against his former team – the pressure is all on the Thunder. And as long as Damian Lillard continues to do Damian Lillard things, it may not even matter if Kanter isn’t 100 percent.
Listen to what Kanter had to say about returning to OKC.
Kanter returns to his former home for Game 3 of the playoffs.Will the Thunder fans cheer or will they boo?
— NBC Sports Northwest (@NBCSNorthwest) April 19, 2019
Game 3 tips off at 9:30 P.M. (EST) on ESPN.