Oklahoma City Thunder could be without star man Russell Westbrook for their NBA season opener after the point guard underwent knee surgery.
The Thunder announced Westbrook had an operation on Wednesday and will be reassessed in around four weeks.
The 2016-17 MVP will almost certainly miss the entire pre-season as OKC play their first warm-up game on October 3 and their last on October 9.
Oklahoma have been handed a meeting with champions and Western Conference rivals Golden State Warriors for their first game of the regular season on October 16, but Westbrook may well be forced to sit it out.
It seems unlikely Thunder will take any unnecessary risks with their franchise player in the early stages of the campaign, and if Westbrook is still showing any signs of discomfort in the build-up to the curtain raiser, he will be unlikely to take to the court.
The injury to the seven-time All Star will provide coach Billy Donovan with a chance to check out his other options at point guard and off-season recruit Dennis Schroder could well be handed an early opportunity.
The 24-year-old German, who joined Thunder after an impressive campaign with Atlanta Hawks, arrived to work alongside Westbrook but could find himself filling the void at point guard at the start of the season.
OKC are 34.00 to win the NBA Championship outright, GSW are the 1.53 favourites and Houston Rockets are 9.50.