It had been 30 months since Andre Roberson suited up for an NBA game. Tonight was just a scrimmage, so it doesn’t technically count, but it was a long awaited return for the Colorado Buffaloes legend.
The injury happened on January 27th, 2018. Roberson was enjoying arguably his best season, leading an elite Oklahoma City Thunder defense, and was a legitimate contender for Defensive Player of the Year. He was so damn good at defense that it finally didn’t matter whether or not he could shoot.
Don’t watch the play he got injured on — it’s one of the scariest falls I’ve seen in basketball, something that physically doesn’t happen unless a major injury occurred. It turned out to be a torn patellar tendon, the same injury that ruined the careers of Antonio McDyess, Caron Butler and Victor Cruz.
Roberson was initially supposed to return to play in December 2018, but he had setback after setback that sidelined him all of the 2018-19 season. He was supposed to make his return to practice in March 2020, but a certain pandemic delayed the NBA until just now.
He doesn’t quite have the same leap or speed as he had at CU, but Roberson looked good in Oklahoma City’s scrimmage against the Boston Celtics. His first shot was a made three-pointer from the corner and later he blocked a layup against the background.
Roberson might be able to crack the Thunder’s player rotation — they need depth at power forward — but for now it’s great he’s back on the floor after such a difficult recovery.