OKLAHOMA CITY – Thunder general manager Sam Presti couldn’t guarantee guard Russell Westbrook would be ready by the start of the season.
Oh, and there’s a chance Kevin Durant and the rest of the Thunder players might be wearing jerseys with sleeves this year.
Past that, Presti didn’t offer many surprises for the Thunder who will hold their annual media Friday and then open training camp Saturday for the upcoming NBA season.
So, about Westbrook?
“I wouldn’t say that he will be and I wouldn’t say that he won’t be,” Presti said on whether Westbrook will be ready to start the season. “We’ve got to see how the next month goes. Beyond that I’m just projecting on things that I have no business projecting on. We’re going to trust the medical team. Russell will be ready to go once he’s cleared. This is an important player for us not only this year but for many years down the line and we’ll be operating with that in mind.”
Westbrook injured his knee in the second game of the playoffs against Houston.
“We’re not going to put a specific timetable on his return simply because it’s just too big of a decision. His health is most important not just in this season but for many years to come.
“It’s very hard for me to say a specific date and I wouldn’t do that because I think it would not only be unfair but irresponsible for us. He’ll be on the court as soon as he’s cleared to be able to participate and we’re hopeful that that will be very soon.”
Presti said Westbrook will participate in some aspects of training camp, but emphasized he didn’t know exactly what Westbrook would be doing.
“When you’re dealing with rehabilitation, it’s a day by day thing because you’re constantly retraining the body to do things it has not done for a while,” Presti said. “They’ll be some good days and they’ll be some setbacks as well but he’ll be able to do a lot on the floor early on and once he’s meeting those thresholds and benchmarks that load will increase.”
As for the jerseys, the ones with sleeves that the Thunder are rumored to possibly be wearing at some point during the season?
“When it comes to the sleeves, the league has input on that,” Presti said. “I don’t know what I’m allowed to say on that particular issue, but there’s a chance that we may end up wearing sleeves during the year. When, I can’t tell you that. Other than that, there will be no other additional changes.”
The Thunder will wear their alternate navy blue jerseys at selected times throughout the season as well.