Photo courtesy: DSHHonline
Photo courtesy: DSHHonline

The Oklahoma City Thunder have experienced a nightmare this season, and one filled with injuries that appear to not be stopping anytime soon. First, it was Kevin Durant and his foot (which is still holding him out of games), then Russell Westbrook went down (knee surgery), and now the injury bug has bitten the all-important block-party himself, Serge Ibaka.

At this point, people would think that the strength and conditioning coach will be getting fired soon, but I think that it is just a string of bad luck this season. The Thunder have shown that they can be competitive without their MVP, Kevin Durant, because of the freakish competitive nature of Westbrook.

But how big of a hole do Serge Ibaka and his knee injury (surgery was a success) leave in the Thunder lineup? Perhaps the biggest roster hole for this team, even with Durant missing so many games this year.

Photo courtesy: 2mwsports
Photo courtesy: 2mwsports

The main thing that Ibaka provided for this team is a menacing presence in the key, and beyond. Ibaka has always provided a consistent nightmare to players driving to the basket. Along with that, his new-found mid-range jumper and shooting form beyond the arc make him even more of a multi-level threat. This season, Ibaka is averaging 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and a whopping 2.4 blocks per game. He is shooting at .476 and is hitting almost 38% of his shots from behind the three-point line. Not too shabby for a forward!

His presence will be missed more so than Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook, because of his defensive tenacity and rebounding. Keep in mind that the OKC Thunder are in a playoff position dog-fight, and his loss for the next 4-6 weeks hurts them even more as a team.

Will the Thunder still make the playoffs despite all of the injuries that this team has had to deal with this year? Will they miss Ibaka too much down the stretch?

These questions will be answered in the next four weeks, but I think that they sneak in as the number eight seed and hope that Serge Ibaka is back for playoff run. In the meantime, Enes Kanter and Steven Adams are showing that they are also forces to be reckoned with in the Thunder lineup, and teams should be on notice.

Dustin Brown covers the Oklahoma City Thunder for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @SprtsWritingMan.

Dustin BrownAnalysisBasketballNBA#KevinDurant,#NBAPlayoffs,#RussellWestbrook,#SergeIbaka,#Thunder,#ThunderUP,Oklahoma City ThunderThe Oklahoma City Thunder have experienced a nightmare this season, and one filled with injuries that appear to not be stopping anytime soon. First, it was Kevin Durant and his foot (which is still holding him out of games), then Russell Westbrook went down (knee surgery), and now the...Why go anywhere else for sports and entertainment?