Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will miss the first four to six weeks of the NBA season because of a complication from his knee surgery last spring, the team announced today.
General manager Sam Presti told reporters that Westbrook had to have arthroscopic knee surgery this week after a loose stitch resulted in swelling that wouldn’t go down.
From the team’s statement (via Daily Thunder):
“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.”
Presti described the injury as an “outlier.”
We have no insights into how a loose stitch can lead to arthroscopic surgery that shelves a player for a mouth, but it’s a fairly significant development for OKC.
1. Westbrook will have no meaningful games under his belt when he returns. Take Robert Griffin III as an example. He came into the regular season without playing any exhibition games, and it has taken him a month to shake off the rust. While Westbrook could only miss 13 games or so, it might take him 20 games to be fully comfortable playing again.
2. As Grantland’s Zach Lowe points out, it’s really important to get at least a 2-seed in the West this year. There are six really good teams (OKC, San Antonio, Memphis, Golden State, Houston, and the Clippers). So if you get a stuck in the 3-seed, you’ll have to beat three of those teams to make the finals.
3. OKC had a quietly rough offseason. The Thunder backcourt is worse than it was last year because Kevin Martin left and they’re going to try to replace him with Jeremy Lamb. Scoring is going to be even more of a challenge than it was in the playoffs last year.
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