Roberson brothers recovering together in Thunder system
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.”
Anthony Roberson, the younger brother of Thunder guard Andre Roberson, is currently playing with the G League Oklahoma City Blue.
Injuries have kept Thunder guard Andre Roberson in a spectator role this season.