Westbrook Setback Leaves Thunder Reeling – NBA BasketballFriday, October 4, 2013 22:35
How badly will the loss of Russell Westbrook affect the Oklahoma City Thunder?
Westbrook Setback Leaves Thunder Reeling
Oklahoma City Thunder could be without the services of Russell Westbrook for the first six weeks of the NBA season after the point guard was forced to endure arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
The 24-year-old three-time All-Star was ever-present in his first five seasons with the Thunder after being selected in the first round of the 2008 NBA draft by the Seattle SuperSonics, who relocated to Oklahoma six days after the draft.
However, he had surgery in May to repair cartilage in his right knee after he was hurt in Game 2 of Oklahoma City’s first-round playoff series with Houston.
A further operation was needed after swelling in the knee failed to subside. Doctors believe a loose stitch was to blame for the swelling and insist the latest procedure was a success.
“Russell has been incredible in his work and rehabilitation,” said general manager Sam Presti. “His performance levels have been tremendous and he’s looked great in the part of practice that he’s been cleared to go through. So, we were very, very encouraged in that respect. But when the swelling wasn’t subsiding, we made the decision to have the knee evaluated.”
“Although we lose a little bit of time, we have gained a tremendous amount of confidence in the actual progression and recovery process of the knee itself.”
Westbrook averaged 23.2 points and 7.4 assists per NBA game last season, but was forced to watch the Thunder’s second-round playoff exit to Memphis from the bench.
There are fears that Oklahoma could struggle offensively in the opening weeks of the season as Kevin Martin, who averaged 14 points per game last season, has left the team.
It is anticipated that third-year guard, Reggie Jackson, who averaged 13.9 points in the playoffs last term after averaging just 5.3 during the regular season, will help Kevin Durant.
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