Rober­son brothers re­cov­er­ing to­gether in Thun­der sys­tem

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - SOONER POSTGAME - Erik Horne [email protected]­la­homan.com STAFF WRITER

An­dre Rober­son’s fam­ily was al­ready close. This year brought them even closer.

An­thony Rober­son can laugh about it now. An­dre’s un­mis­tak­able younger brother was at bas­ket­ball prac­tice at the Uni­ver­sity of Cen­tral Ok­la­homa in Jan­uary when he went for a re­bound, landed and felt a lit­tle pop in his left knee.

An­thony, a 6-foot-5 wing, kept play­ing un­til his knee twisted and popped again while he was fight­ing over a screen on de­fense. He couldn’t straighten his leg. An MRI showed a torn left menis­cus. Se­nior sea­son over. Surgery to come.

“It hap­pened a cou­ple of days be­fore Dre’s did,” An­thony told The Ok­la­homan.

In An­dre Rober­son’s dif­fi­cult year-long bat­tle in re­cov­ery from his own knee in­jury, he’s had a fam­ily sup­port sys­tem, start­ing with his brother An­thony, who's now play­ing with the Ok­la­homa City Blue.

“It was funny be­cause he was mak­ing fun of me be­cause I was com­plain­ing about the pain when I came home,” An­thony said. “He was call­ing me a baby. I had surgery the same day he messed his up.

“I just re­mem­ber be­ing on the couch all drugged up and watch­ing him go up for that dan­ged al­ley­oop.”

••• On Fri­day, the Thun­der an­nounced that An­dre Rober­son has an avul­sion frac­ture in his left knee, an­other set­back in his re­cov­ery from a rup­tured left patel­lar ten­don. He will be re-eval­u­ated in six weeks, bring­ing him close to a year away from play-

ing with the Thun­der.

In that time, An­dre has been able to re­hab along­side his brother and watch him be­come a part of the Thun­der or­ga­ni­za­tion.

De­spite a se­nior sea­son marred first by a bro­ken hand then the torn menis­cus, An­thony re­habbed this past sum­mer with his brother in hopes of con­tin­u­ing his bas­ket­ball ca­reer.

“It was just good to have some­body to go through that process with,” An­thony said. “He made sure I stayed on it, and I made sure he stayed on it.”

An­thony re­turned to the court in time to work out with the G League Ok­la­homa City Blue in pre­sea­son. He came into it with the mind­set of tak­ing ad­van­tage of an op­por­tu­nity, noth­ing more. But af­ter three weeks of train­ing camp, Blue coach Mark Daigneault told An­thony he wanted him to be a prac­tice player this sea­son. The Blue would work to de­velop An­thony into a point guard.

An­thony couldn’t have en­vi­sioned the chance would turn into a ros­ter spot.

In early Novem­ber, Blue play­ers Richard Solomon and Scotty Hop­son were se­lected to the USA World Cup qual­i­fy­ing team. The USA team had qual­i­fy­ing games sched­uled for Nov. 29 and Dec. 2 against Ar­gentina and Uruguay, right in the mid­dle of the Blue sea­son.

One of two tem­po­rary ros­ter spots is be­ing filled by An­thony, who’s en­tered into a con­tract with the G League ac­cord­ing to a Thun­der spokesper­son.

“(Daigneault) told me the op­por­tu­nity I had if I wanted to take it,” said An­thony, who in three games has av­er­aged four points and 2.7 re­bounds in 16.4 min­utes per game. “Of course I wanted to take it.

“My fam­ily al­ways tells me we al­ways try to take ad­van­tage of ev­ery op­por­tu­nity given to us.”

•••

As the only two boys among seven Rober­son sib­lings, An­thony, 24, and An­dre, 26, are nat­u­rally com­pet­i­tive.

That com­pet­i­tive spirit con­tin­ued through the re­hab process. An­thony was on crutches and grew anx­ious when he saw his older brother walk­ing aid-free af­ter suf­fer­ing a more se­vere in­jury. “It was mo­ti­va­tion,” An­thony said. “That’s how me and my brother are. It can be what­ever. We’re al­ways com­pet­ing about some­thing.”

Long be­fore An­dre’s most re­cent set­back, Lisa Rober­son left her job in San An­to­nio to take care of her sons in Jan­uary. She was quickly re­minded of the in­de­pen­dence of her two boys.

“An­dre, he def­i­nitely had a prob­lem — and I say this in a pos­i­tive way,” Lisa told The Ok­la­homan. “He was de­ter­mined to do it him­self.

“It was an emo­tional thing as well, hav­ing to de­pend on oth­ers. He’s pretty in­de­pen­dent, ba­si­cally all my kids are. But they have each other. They all know this.

That bond is part of why the Rober­sons have re­mained con­fi­dent An­dre will make a full re­cov­ery.

Not long af­ter An­dre’s in­jury rat­tled the Thun­der on Jan. 27, An­thony sent his brother a text to make sure he was al­right. An­dre didn’t re­ply.

“Of course he didn’t text me back,” An­thony laughed. “He had too much go­ing on.”

But An­thony, bedrid­den in Ok­la­homa City, was there.

“When he got home that night, I think he knew how we were in this to­gether, if that makes sense,” An­thony said. “… that he had some­body there that was kinda go­ing through some­thing sim­i­lar to him … that he wasn’t alone.”

[UCO PHOTO SER­VICES]

An­thony Rober­son, the younger brother of Thun­der guard An­dre Rober­son, is cur­rently play­ing with the G League Ok­la­homa City Blue.

[PHOTO BY SARAH PHIPPS, THE OK­LA­HOMAN]

In­juries have kept Thun­der guard An­dre Rober­son in a spec­ta­tor role this sea­son.

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