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May 25, 2014

Ibaka willing to play through pain, but status still uncertain

Thunder still looking for key to stopping Spurs

(Continued)

NORMAN —

“I don’t know what his status is,” Durant said. “I’ve heard some stuff, but I don’t know. But we’re preparing like he’s not playing because that’s what he said before we started the series. We’ve all got to dig deep ourselves and figure out what we have to do, and I think guys have done a great job the last few days.”

What has become apparent is that nobody seemed to really believe Ibaka would miss the entire series. At first it was just the Spurs who let it be known they believed the 6-10 athletic power forward would be on the court at some time. Now, even some of the Thunder are talking as if they also paid no attention to the initial reports.

“First of all, we never have convinced ourselves that Serge was out in the first place,” Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook said. “ We just come out and play our game and play Thunder basketball. The day-to-day news is just news for the media. Serge is going to take his time and get back when he’s ready.”

Ibaka, who hasn’t practiced with the team or done any running, said he had faith he would be back this year.

“When the gym doctor told me I’m going to be out for the rest of the playoffs, I wasn’t believing it because I believe in God,” Ibaka said. “I know I’m here for a reason, and so I want to just keep pushing, keep putting ice, do what I can do, what I can control.”

Regardless if Ibaka plays or not, the Thunder’s biggest worry is how to slow down a Spurs’ offense that has run wild in the first two games. With the series moving to Oklahoma, they hope it will also bring back the defense that has carried them this season.

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