All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder will have surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee and be out indefinitely
OKLAHOMA CITY — All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will have surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee and be out indefinitely, dealing a harsh blow to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s championship chances.
General manager Sam Presti said Friday the Thunder had not yet scheduled Westbrook’s surgery and would not have an accurate timeline for his return until after the procedure was done.
No one would rule out Westbrook’s possible return if Oklahoma City keeps advancing in the playoffs, and All-Star teammate Kevin Durant said teammates “hope” Westbrook can play again this postseason.
“We’re not trying to rush him or bring him back ahead of schedule. We want to make sure he’s healthy and his knee is right,” Durant said. “That’s our only concern with it right now. … We have to come together as a team and worry about the basketball. All he has to worry about is him getting healthy.”
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The three-time All-Star was hurt in Game 2 of the Thunder’s first-round playoff series against Houston on Wednesday night. Rookie Patrick Beverley lunged for a steal in the second quarter and his hip collided with Westbrook’s knee.
Beverley, who called Westbrook’s injury “unfortunate,” said, “Anyone who knows me knows I don’t go out there and try to hurt anybody. I play at one speed and that’s fast. I was just trying to make a play on the ball before they called a timeout and it’s just unfortunate.”
Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Saturday in Houston. In his fifth NBA season, Westbrook has never previously missed a game. He had the league’s longest active streak of consecutive games played, with 394 straight regular-season games. He also has played in all 45 of Oklahoma City’s playoff games.
“He obviously wants to play,” Presti said. “But at the end of the day, this was a medical decision.”
• If the departure of David Kahn, Minnesota Timberwolves president of basketball operations, is imminent, it is news to him.
The league’s website reported former Wolves coach Flip Saunders is negotiating with team owner Glen Taylor a five-year contract worth more than $9 million to replace Kahn.
Kahn wrote a text-message statement saying he and Taylor will meet “at an appropriate time” to discuss his contract and his future with the team, but only after coach Rick Adelman decides whether he will return next season.
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