OKC’s Diallo leaves on stretcher with leg injury

OAKLAND, Calif. — Despite leaving the floor on a stretcher against the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, Oklahoma City Thunder rookie Hamidou Diallo did not suffer any kind of serious leg injury, a team spokesperson said.

The initial fear was a severe injury to his left leg, possibly a break, but X-rays done at the arena were negative. Thunder forward Paul George called it an ankle sprain, though team officials declined to confirm the diagnosis.

“I was hoping, praying it was nothing too serious, that it wasn’t his knee,” George said. “I think we can all say it’s the best news that it was his ankle and it was a sprain.”

Diallo exited the locker room with a boot on his left foot and using crutches, but he was in good spirits after getting what was pretty surprising news considering how scary the play looked.

Early in the fourth quarter, Diallo jumped for a rebound in transition. After landing, Warriors forward Jonas Jerebko landed awkwardly on Diallo’s legs. Diallo immediately began rolling on the floor in pain and moved himself off the court and under the basket. Teammates had their heads in their hands and appeared visibly shaken by the injury.

“When guys go down, we’re a family here and we have to have our brother’s back, and that’s what we’re going to do,” Thunder guard Russell Westbrook said.

After Diallo’s injury, the Thunder rallied and blew the game open against the Warriors with a 36-16 fourth quarter en route to a dominant 123-95 win. Dennis Schroder led the way with 32 points on 12-of-19 shooting, with George adding 25 points and Westbrook producing his first triple-double of the season (11 points, 11 rebounds, 13 assists).

Diallo, a second-round pick, has been a bright spot for the Thunder, securing a steady spot in the rotation as a defensive spark plug. He started in place of Terrance Ferguson on Monday against the Sacramento Kings and scored 18 points on 7-of-7 shooting in a loss.

The Thunder have been hit with a wave of injuries in their backcourt recently. After getting Westbrook back from an ankle sprain, guard Alex Abrines has missed the past three games with an illness, and Ferguson exited in the first half against the Warriors and did not return because of a left ankle sprain.

Diallo, 20, finished with three points and six rebounds in 17 minutes. He is averaging 6.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 16 games this season.

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