The chances of the Oklahoma City Thunder returning to the NBA Finals in 2013 just took one big, swift kick in the crotch.
Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will have to undergo surgery on his right knee to repair a lateral meniscus tear, the team reported on Friday.
No timetable for his return was included.
“Our players’ health is our first and foremost concern. The Thunder’s medical team and several specialists we consulted with determined that Russell undergo a procedure to address the issue,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti in a release. “We have thoroughly discussed this with Russell. Despite being the competitor and teammate that he is, he respects and understands the decision and is committed to come back even stronger. Certainly Russell is a leader and core player for this team, but we are in the midst of the playoffs and I know other players are determined to step up and contribute. We have a resilient group of players who have always taken pride in playing as a team and that approach will continue.”
The injury (presumably) took place during the second quarter of Game 2 of OKC’s best-of-seven series with the Houston Rockets, when Houston guard Patrick Beverley made an attempt to steal the ball from Russell after he called a time-out.
In 82 games this season, Westbrook averaged 23.2 points (6th in the NBA), 7.4 assists (7th) and 1.7 steals (9th). He has yet to miss a game in his five-year NBA career.