Westbrook needs surgery, out indefinitely
APR 26, 2013 12:38p ET
Westbrook was hurt Wednesday night during the first half of Game 2 of the Western Conference playoffs against Houston when Rockets guard Patrick Beverley tried to steal the ball as Westbrook was getting ready to call a timeout.
Westbrook immediately slammed his fist down on the scorer's table and limped before heading to the bench. He returned shortly after and played in the second half, finishing with a team-high 29 points.
The All-Star is averaging 24 points and seven assists through the first two playoff games. He has never missed a game in his five seasons in the NBA.
While Thunder coach Scott Brooks and general manager Sam Presti would not speculate on how quickly Westbrook could return, it's worth noting that in 2008 former University of Oklahoma player and now Los Angeles Clipper Blake Griffin suffered the same injury. Griffin returned seven games later. Metta World Peace of the Los Angeles Lakers needed less than two weeks to return from a torn lateral meniscus. Thunder officials didn't say how severe the tear is for Westbrook. They also said they haven't decided when the surgery will happen.
"Our team is disappointed for Russell," Presti said in a news conference at the Thunder practice facilities in Oklahoma City. "We know what kind of competitor he is, how much he wants to be out there, but it's a medical decision. 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."
The Thunder will play Saturday night in Houston in Game 3. Oklahoma leads the series 2-0 and will likely be favored to get past the No. 8-seeded Rockets with our without Westbrook. However, what the Westbrook injury ultimately means is an increased strain on forward Kevin Durant.
Back-up point guard Reggie Jackson will likely get the start, despite Brooks not guaranteeing it Friday afternoon, and there will be more minutes given to veteran Derek Fisher, but expect Durant to have the pressure of creating the Thunder's offense.
Durant, who averaged 28.1 points per game this season, is getting 26.5 points per game through the first two playoff games, but more importantly, this is the first significant injury for the Thunder since they came to Oklahoma City five seasons ago.
That means, while Durant is undeniably a superstar, he will be in a situation unfamiliar to himself and the team. Already without an established third scorer, the Thunder are now forced to rely on Jackson, a second-year player out of Boston College and a 38-year-old Fisher, who is playing about 15 minutes per game, at the point guard spot.
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