It’s news that only Reggie Jackson fantasy owners want to hear: Russell Westbrook will miss the first 4-6 weeks of the season. It had initially been projected that he would be ready to suit up for the season opener but unforeseen arthroscopic knee surgery will do that to a recovery timetable.
Westbrook never quite reached 100 percent due to stubborn swelling of his right knee. As playoff junkies might remember, that knee was hurt while Westbrook paused to call a timeout during the first-round matchup against the Rockets. Because of jitters, or some playoff-induced tunnel vision, Patrick Beverly, Houston’s man at the point, lunged at Westbrook on an intended steal, not noticing the dead play. In the process, he caught Westbrook unaware, which, resulted in a torn meniscus for the OKC starter.
OKC would rout Houston in six games but ultimately be mauled by the Memphis Grizzlies. The Thunder just aren’t quite the same without their go-to guard.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti has been very complimentary and vocal on Westbrook’s progress up to this point, commending the 24-year-old on his dedication to a speedy recovery: “Russell has been incredible in his work and rehabilitation. He has been pain-free and has performed at a high level during practice…”
But, after swelling in that right knee decided to stick around, Oklahoma brass decided an evaluation was needed. The evaluation showed that a loose stitch from the previous surgery caused the swelling, and that the new one will cost Westbrook 4-6 weeks of the league’s opening chapter.
The timing doesn’t make the news as bleak as it was during the playoffs but it will almost certainly slow down any whirlwind start Oklahoma was counting on having.