Russell Westbrook had surgery today to repair the broken right he hand he suffered earlier this week in a game against the Los Angeles Clippers. The Oklahoma City Thunder guard will join fellow injured superstar Kevin Durant on the sidelines for at least the next four weeks.
The Thunder released the following statement this morning:
News: Russell Westbrook undergoes successful hand surgery. Will be re-evaluated in four weeks. pic.twitter.com/PPFgyw6JiQ
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) November 1, 2014
Westbrook’s injury is the latest in a rash of maladies for Oklahoma City that quickly became pandemic. After Durant suffered a Jones fracture in mid-October, Sixth Man of the Year candidate Reggie Jackson, key free agent signee Anthony Morrow, promising third-year wing Jeremy Lamb, and deep reserve Grant Jerrett succumbed to the injury bug that eventually bit Westbrook. First-round pick Mitch McGary broke his foot early last month, too.
The Thunder were optimistic that Jackson and Lamb would be active in tonight’s home game against the Denver Nuggets, but both players were listed as doubtful on this morning’s injury report. As a result, Oklahoma City will likely dress just eight players for the second time in as many games.
If Perry Jones III can make his eye-opening career performance versus the Clippers commonplace, perhaps the Thunder can weather this unprecedented storm of injuries to play .500 basketball until it subsides. Getting a playmaker of Jackson’s talents back will especially in that regard. But there’s no replacing Durant or Westbrook; the Thunder will need to rely on defense for success while their All-NBA tandem recovers.
And once Durant and Westbrook return to the lineup, Oklahoma City will find itself fighting tooth and nail in a loaded Western Conference for a postseason berth. It would be remiss to say the Thunder won’t be able to climb from injury-ravaged depths to claim one, but it will also prove an undeniably difficult undertaking. Should they manage it, Durant, Westbrook, and company will surely find themselves without homecourt advantage, too. Can you imagine Oklahoma City as a 7-seed?
The West just got even wilder, basically. And while that makes for depressing circumstances at the moment, the Thunder’s seemingly inevitable second-half rise will make the 2014-2015 season even more thrilling than anticipated.
What do you think?
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