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Giddey injury absence an NBA Thunder blow

The Oklahoma City Thunder were looking forward to getting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander back on the floor with rookie sensation Josh Giddey after the NBA All-Star break.

They got it for one game, but the Thunder are still waiting for an encore as Giddey will miss his second consecutive game due to hip soreness when Oklahoma City host the Sacramento Kings on Monday.

On Sunday, Thunder coach Mark Daigneault wouldn’t offer a timeline for Giddey’s return.

“He could miss some time,” Daigneault said.

Giddey had stepped into the spotlight during Gilgeous-Alexander’s 10-game absence with an ankle sprain going into the break.

So much so that Daigneault said he would give the 19-year-old Victorian a greater role in the playmaking duties and using Gilgeous-Alexander off the ball more.

While the Thunder are 19-41 on the season to be second bottom in the western conference standings, their improving young cast has fans excited about future success.

Giddey has already proved his insane upside with three triple-doubles in his debut campaign, including one against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in which he scored a career-high 28 points.

After 54 games, Giddey is averaging 12.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 6.4 assists and was selected for the Rising Stars component of NBA All-Star weekend.

He is among the leading contenders for rookie of the year honours, although Cleveland Cavaliers big man Evan Mobley is the favourite with his side in contention for top spot in the east.

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