The three-time NBA All-Star averaged 23.2 points (sixth in NBA), 7.4 assists (seventh), a career-high 5.2 rebounds and 1.77 steals (ninth) in 82 games this season. Westbrook’s string of never missing a game since high school will come to an end. That includes 439 straight in a Thunder uniform. There is no timetable set for his return.
“If they just have to trim the tear, and they don’t have to put stitches in it, then it’s a much quicker turnaround,” ESPN Medical Analyst Dr. Michael Kaplan said. “Maybe two, three, four weeks maximum. But if they have to sew it and fix it, and they are hoping it’s something they can fix, then you are talking about a much longer recovery. Something that is going to compromise the rest of this season. Talking six to eight weeks minimum.”
Presti said the team is not going to rush Westbrook back.
“Despite being the competitor and teammate that he is, he respects and understands the decision and is committed to come back even stronger,” Presti said. “Certainly Russell is a leader and core player for this team, but we are in the midst of the playoffs and I know other players are determined to step up and contribute. We have a resilient group of players who have always taken pride in playing as a team and that approach will continue.”
Game 3 is tonight at the Toyota Center in Houston. But Kevin Durant’s first thoughts were with his inured teammate.
“We were all in shock,” Durant said. “We thought with him playing in the second half, he was going to be all right. But we are his teammates and his brother. We just want to support him. Keep his spirits up because Russell is an emotional guy. He wants to play so bad and be on the floor with his team. We have to make sure his spirits are high.”
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