Westbrook has surgery, will miss first 4 to 6 weeks
OKLAHOMA CITY – Russell Westbrook will miss at least the first four-to-six weeks of the regular season, the team announced Tuesday afternoon.
He had successful surgery Tuesday on his injured right knee to alleviate swelling.
"Russell has been incredible in his work and rehabilitation," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. "He has been pain-free and has performed at a high level during practice, but has experienced recent swelling that had not subsided.
"After careful consideration and recommendations from the medical team, we elected to do the procedure today based on our consulting physician's belief that the swelling would be alleviated, and in turn give Russell the best chance for sustained performance throughout the season and beyond. During the procedure it was determined that the source of swelling was due to a loose stitch, and fortunately we were also able to confirm that the meniscus has healed properly."
The Thunder played just two playoff games a season ago with Westbrook. He missed the final four games of the series win against Houston and all five games the Thunder played against Memphis.
The good news is the Thunder are used to playing without him. The injury will certainly mean a bump in minutes for guards Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb. Jackson will start in place of Westbrook. The Thunder also have Derek Fisher at point guard.
"We're not down," said coach Scott Brooks. "We're a man down. We have a tough team and we are excited about what we have. Russell will be back soon."
Westbrook will not travel to Europe with the team on Wednesday, when they leave for two exhibition games.
"I'm gonna call him after practice and check in on him," Kevin Durant said Tuesday. "That's my guy. I love him and I'm glad it was a successful surgery."
While Westbrook will miss approximately six weeks of the regular season, it means he'll miss about 10 weeks more overall. He is still healing from the original meniscus surgery.
"We want him on the floor as soon as possible," Presti said. "Although
we lost some time, we gained a tremendous amount of confidence. He's
been great through the rehab and looks good. As we work through this
period, when Russell does come back, he'll be as good as ever and the
team will be better."
Six of the first seven games on the schedule come against teams that didn't make the playoffs a season ago. The Thunder begin December with four games in a row against non-playoff teams and also have December games against Orlando, Toronto and Charlotte.
The Thunder start the season Oct. 30 at Utah and then play at Minnesota on Nov. 1.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK