Westbrook cleared to play for Thunder against Suns

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Thunder needed some good news.

Russell Westbrook playing tonight against Phoenix certainly qualifies.

Westbrook, Oklahoma City’s All-Star guard, was cleared to play and was in the starting lineup tonight in the home opener for the Thunder.

“Russell Westbrook has gone through a methodical rehab process jointly created by our medical and performance teams and treating physicians,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. “The process has been instrumental in getting Russell to this point and has included various physical and medical benchmarks. The final benchmark being unrestricted basketball activity. After hitting the necessary marks, all parties, including the team, consulting physicians, Russell’s representatives, and most importantly Russell, jointly determined that returning to play was the correct next step.”
 
Westbrook had been out since the third game of the first round of the playoffs a season ago. He missed the rest of that series win over the Rockets and all of the five-game defeat against Memphis.

Westbrook then had some complications with the torn meniscus when the Thunder opened training camp. He was expected to be out for at least four more weeks.

“I feel great,” Westbrook said about an hour before Sunday’s game
against Phoenix. “I’m happy and blessed to play basketball again. It was
a tough experience but I’m happy to be back.”

Oklahoma City is 1-1 with a win at Utah. The Thunder lost to Minnesota on Friday night.