Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook underwent arthroscopic surgery in his right knee on Tuesday. Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman originally reported the news, and B/R's own Howard Beck provided a timeline as to when Westbrook will return:
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook underwent successful arthroscopic surgery today to alleviate swelling in his right knee.— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) October 1, 2013
The procedure confirmed Westbrook's meniscus has healed properly, but his expected return will be pushed back by a few weeks. Story coming.— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) October 1, 2013
Bad news for OKC: Thunder announce that Westbrook had arthroscopic surgery on right knee. Will miss first 4-6 weeks of season.— Howard Beck (@HowardBeck) October 1, 2013
Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti shared more details on the point All-Star point guard's condition, via Mayberry:
Presti: "The origin of the swelling that was discovered was caused by the presence of a loose stitch."— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) October 1, 2013
This development comes less than six months after Westbrook's surgery to repair a torn meniscus suffered during Oklahoma City's playoff matchup with the Houston Rockets.
Although we are of course disappointed that Russell will be unable to return to the floor with his teammates this season, the opportunity to repair the meniscus as opposed to remove it was the best possible scenario for Russell's long term health as a player and person. Russell's health and well being are obviously our number one priority through this process and today's procedure helped solidify our belief that Russell will have many productive years of basketball in his future.
After advancing past the Rockets in six games, the Thunder were trounced by the Memphis Grizzlies in five contests in the conference semifinals.
Though Westbrook's detractors say that he shoots too often and doesn't defer to his teammates enough on offense, it was evident in the conference semis that Oklahoma City struggled without a secondary scoring option behind Kevin Durant.
Where will the Thunder stand by the time Westbrook gets back?
Westbrook scored 23.2 points, grabbed 5.2 rebounds, dished out 7.4 assists and logged 1.8 steals per game last season, and was producing a similar line in the postseason before he got hurt.
Though losing the 24-year-old for the early part of the season is a big blow to the Thunder, veteran Derek Fisher and promising youngster Reggie Jackson give the team serviceable depth at Westbrook's position.
The NBA's Western Conference is stacked, but Oklahoma City's roster should have enough firepower to stay afloat until their star floor general's eventual return.