Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Russell Westbrook is a tough-as-nails NBA baller, but his right knee has gone through some misery. The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard has had three surgeries in eight months and is currently working toward his return.
Westbrook tore his meniscus in the first round of the 2013 playoffs and had season-ending surgery. He had a second surgery on the same knee to deal with loose stitches shortly before the start of this season. He only missed two games, however, and was soon swaggering back into action.
And then it happened again. On December 27, the team’s top exec, Sam Presti, dropped a bit of a bombshell, telling of a third surgery that hadn’t been previously announced. Per the team’s official website:
Russell has been playing pain free, but recently had experienced increased swelling. After consultation and consideration by his surgeon in Los Angeles, a plan was established to monitor the swelling that included a series of scheduled MRIs. On the most recent MRI it was determined by the surgeon that there was an area of concern that had not previously existed, nor was detectable in the previous procedures, and it was necessary to evaluate Russell further. The consulting physician determined that arthroscopic surgery was necessary to address the swelling that was taking place. We know that Russell’s work ethic and commitment will help him return to the level of play that we have all come to appreciate.
The press release concluded with a cryptic note that Westbrook was expected to return “post All-Star break.” So when exactly will that be?
Westbrook isn’t a guy who likes to complain, and if you take him at his word, he was feeling just fine this season. When you watched him walk, however, you had to wonder—he looked like a bowlegged cowboy. That’s just kind of how he moves, though, until the whistle blows and he’s off and running again, threading the needle and going hard to the basket.
Darnell Mayberry for The Oklahoman interviewed Westbrook recently, and per usual, the three-time All-Star wasn’t giving much away. Mayberry asked about the areas of concern, and Westbrook replied, “Just a little swelling. That was about it.” Was there any pain when he was playing? “Not at all.” Could he share what he was thinking this time around? “No.”
So as it stands, Russell Westbrook will be back at some point, doing Russell Westbrook things and hopefully at the same productivity that he showed through 25 games this season at over 21 points and seven assists per game.
Plus, wearing those awesome postgame shirts.