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TULSA, OK- OCTOBER 3: Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder handles the ball during the preseason game against the Houston Rockets on October 3, 2017 at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Shane Bevel/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams will miss Friday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers with a right calf contusion, according to the Oklahoman‘s Erik Horne

Adams, 24, has become a crucial part of the Thunder, playing a key complementary role behind the superstar trio of Russell Westbrook, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. While those three steal the headlines and dominate the highlights, Adams does the dirty work down on the block, providing a key defensive and rebounding presence. 

This season, he’s averaging 12.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 30.7 minutes per game. 

One major concern for the Thunder anytime Adams gets injured is the team’s lack of depth behind him. 

Jerami Grant—traditionally a forward—is one option at the position, though likely only against small-ball lineups. Veterans Patrick Patterson and Nick Collison are options as well, though both have spent more time at power forward in their careers. And rookie Dakari Johnson could see minutes at the 5, his natural position, though his lack of experience could be limiting.

That lack of options behind Adams, combined with the physicality he brings to the position, makes his absence tough to overcome for the Thunder. They’ll no doubt remain a difficult team to beat given their star trio, but losing Adams for any stretch of time will nonetheless cost them their most imposing presence on the interior and alter their identity, at least somewhat, in the short term.

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