NORMAN — When Scott Brooks got to work Friday he was hoping for the best. The Oklahoma City coach had an idea his All-Star point guard was hurting, but he held out hope it wasn’t anything major.
That hope was dashed by the afternoon when the team announced Russell Westbrook will undergo surgery in the coming days to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.
“I have a lot of respect for Russell,” Brooks said. “He gives everything he has for the team. All of our players feel the same way. We love Russell Westbrook. We love what he’s about. We love the determination and drive that he has had since we drafted him. We all understand that injuries do happen. It’s unfortunate that it happened.”
According to the Thunder, the injury occurred Wednesday in Game 2 of their best-of-seven series with Houston.
More than likely it took place in the second quarter when Westbrook was dribbling across mid-court toward the Oklahoma City bench with the intentions of calling a time-out. Normally players allow this to happen without much interference. This time Houston rookie Patrick Beverley lunged in front of Westbrook to go for a quick steal, causing the two to bang knees.
Westbrook dropped to the ground in pain and anger. He popped up and limped around before slamming the scorer’s table. He then headed toward the Rockets’ bench before being held back. But not before exchanging words and angry glares toward Beverley.
Westbrook ended up finishing the game and scoring 29 points in the 105-102 victory. But the damage had already been done.
“Our players’ health is our first and foremost concern,” Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti said. “The Thunder’s medical team and several specialists we consulted with determined that Russell undergo a procedure to address the issue. We have thoroughly discussed this with Russell.”