OKC Thunder: Terrance Ferguson missed game to defend himself in child custody hearing

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AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Milwaukee Bucks guard Sterling Brown (23) shoots as Oklahoma City Thunder forward Nerlens Noel and Terrance Ferguson, right, defend, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Nov. 10, 2019, in Oklahoma City. Ferguson's missed the Thunder's next game, at Indiana Tuesday, to attend a child custody hearing in Oklahoma City.

Tuesday night in Indianapolis the Thunder were without starting forward Terrance Ferguson for what were termed “personal reasons.” Wednesday, those reasons became known.

As first reported by The Oklahoman and confirmed by The Transcript through court records, Ferguson was in the courtroom of Oklahoma County district judge Barry Hafar defending his parental rights.

The subject of the hearing was an application by Ferguson’s former fiancee, Lawren Jensen, for an emergency order that would have awarded her sole custody or their infant daughter.

The order was denied.

Ferguson and Jensen’s daughter, not yet a year old, have been the subject of a custody dispute going back to June.

Both parents are suing for sole custody and both have been subject to a temporary order calling for joint custody and shared parenting time, issued Aug. 21.

Wednesday’s hearing centered around Jensen’s contention that, following the most recent exchange of the child, carried out by Ferguson’s mother and Jensen at an Ardmore Starbucks, Jensen, who now resides in Texas, “observed scabs on the child’s head, in addition to marks that had the appearance of burns on the child’s legs and hands.”

Jensen’s application further claimed the child had seen a pediatrician in Dallas, and “the pediatrician made a referral to child protective services.”

Ferguson, who is the plaintiff in the case, having sought sole custody first, responded to the court that his daughter had been accidentally burned when “hot water splashed from a cooking pan onto both the child and her Grandmother, who was holding the child at the time.”

According to Ferguson’s response, after he quickly returned to the home from practice and learned what had occurred, in addition to care already provided by the child’s grandmother, his mother, Thunder medical personnel were contacted and offered instruction “regarding proper care of the wounds,” which Ferguson carried out.

Ferguson asserted to the court that Jensen had little interest in the explanation and instructions for the child’s condition and care expressed by Ferguson's mother during the Ardmore exchange and refused to accept a cream that had been recommended as part of the child’s treatment.

Given the judge’s denial of Jensen’s application for an emergency order of sole custody, both parties remain subject to the two-week-on, two-week-off temporary custody arrangement, set forth on Aug. 21.

Tuesday's game was the first missed this season by Ferguson.

He started all 10 of the Thunder's previous games, averaging 22.3 minutes, 4.1 points and 1.9 rebounds.

Horning is senior sports columnist for The Norman Transcript.

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