Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City Thunder all-star guard who ignites the team’s explosive offense, will have surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee and be out indefinitely–a severe blow to OKC’s championship aspirations.
General manager Sam Presti said Friday that the Thunder had not yet scheduled Westbrook’s surgery and would not have an accurate timeline for his return until after the procedure was done.
The three-time All-Star was hurt in Game 2 of the Thunder’s playoff series against Houston on Wednesday night. Rookie Patrick Beverley lunged into him trying for a steal in the second quarter and his hip collided with Westbrook’s knee.
”Our team is disappointed for Russell. We know what kind of competitor he is, how much he wants to be out there, but it’s a medical decision,” Presti said in a news conference.
”Our team as a whole, we’ve got a resilient group of guys, a lot of character within that locker room and a group that enjoys playing together and has been through some adversities over the last several years that they’ve been together. We’d expect them to adjust, come together and have different guys step in and play well collectively.”
Westbrook, who is in his fifth season in the NBA, has never previously missed a game. He had the league’s longest active streak of consecutive games played, with 394 straight regular-season games. He also has played in all 45 of Oklahoma City’s playoff games.
Game 3 of the playoff series is Saturday night in Houston.Westbrook averaged 24 points and seven assists in the first two games, both won by Oklahoma City. Westbrook remained in the game Wednesday night, but was clearly hobbling after the injury. He sat out the Thunder’s practice on Thursday, and coach Scott Brooks claimed he would be ”fine tomorrow.”
The team found out Friday morning that wasn’t the case.
”I think we all know Russell. He obviously wants to play. But at the end of the day, this was a medical decision,” Presti said.
”Once we were able to gather all of the necessary information and everything was accumulated, it was an easy decision for our medical team.”