The Seattle SuperSonics overhauled their roster over the summer to rebuild the team around rookie Kevin Durant. That rebuilding process could be stalled if Durant is forced to miss extended time with a finger injury.
It's uncertain if Durant will be able to play Monday when the Sonics host the Philadelphia 76ers.
Durant was the No. 2 overall selection in last June's draft after earning National Player of the Year honors as a freshman at Texas. After selecting Durant, the Sonics (9-21) traded Ray Allen and Rashard Lewis - their top scorers from last season - to commit to a youth movement with the 19-year-old rookie as the centerpiece.
Seattle started the season 2-14, but has split its last 14 games with Durant averaging 19.9 points and 4.1 rebounds in that stretch. Durant, however, played less than 12 minutes in Saturday's 109-90 victory over Minnesota before leaving with a sprained left index finger near the end of the first quarter.
X-rays were negative, but Seattle held its phenom out the rest of the game as a precaution.
"I just ran into somebody and sprained my finger. It was kind of hurting more than it usually does," said Durant, Seattle's leading scorer with 19.7 points per game. "I hit it in every game and the pain usually stops, but tonight it started throbbing and swelling up a little bit. I wanted to play but our trainer just wanted me to sit out for the rest of the game."
To make matters worse, Seattle also lost second-leading scorer Chris Wilcox, who left the game with a sprained left knee late in the third quarter. His status for Monday is also uncertain.
"I just hope it's nothing serious because I want to be able to help my teammates," Wilcox said. "I am going to get X-rays (Sunday), so hopefully everything will come back negative ... and I'll be back on the court."
Seattle could use both injured players against a Philadelphia team that has won four of the last five meetings in the series, including both last season.
Philadelphia, though, is coming off a disheartening loss. The Sixers (13-17) had won three straight games before a fourth-quarter collapse against Portland on Sunday. They led by as many as 10 in the third, but were outscored 35-9 in the final period to lose 97-72.
Philadelphia was held scoreless in the first 6:36 of the fourth quarter - part of a 21-0 run for the Trail Blazers.
Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 24 points, but was just 8-for-19 from the field. He's averaging a career-best 18.7 points, but he's also shooting a career-worst 43.5 percent.
Iguodala averaged 18.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and 9.5 assists against the Sonics last season.
Seattle is just 3-14 against Western Conference opponents, but has won six of 13 against teams from the East.
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