Updates from Sunday, May 25
After registering 12 points, six rebounds and four blocks in 25 minutes of play, Serge Ibaka left the court in the fourth quarter according to Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman:
Serge Ibaka just went to the back with both legs wrapped.— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) May 26, 2014
But he only missed a few minutes of game time before returning, per Mayberry.
Ibaka finished the game with 15 points, seven rebounds and four blocks in 30 minutes of action as the Thunder defeated the Spurs 106-97.
Before Game 3, Scott Brooks confirmed to Royce Young of Daily Thunder that Serge Ibaka will start in Game 3:
Scott Brooks says Serge Ibaka will start tonight.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) May 25, 2014
Brooks says Ibaka will probably be on the stationary bike most of the time when he's not playing.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) May 25, 2014
Brooks says no restrictions on Ibaka.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) May 25, 2014
Earlier in the day, Ibaka spoke about how his injured calf was holding up with J.A. Adande of ESPN:
Serge Ibaka said his calf feels better, will make decision to play based on how it holds up later.— J.A. Adande (@jadande) May 25, 2014
Ibaka also spoke more about the process that eventually led to the Thunder star playing (via Jeff Caplan of NBA.com and Young):
Ibaka says he will now wait to see how his calf responds to this activity but he made it clear that the decision to play tonight is HIS.— Jeff Caplan (@Caplan_NBA) May 25, 2014
Ibaka: "It is my decision. At this point it is my decision more than coach or the doctor. So it is my decision."— Royce Young (@royceyoung) May 25, 2014
Updates from Saturday, May 24
Royce Young of ESPN provides an update on Serge Ibaka's injury:
Scott Brooks says Ibaka didn't practice with the team today, but just went through a standard workout with the training staff.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) May 24, 2014
Serge Ibaka: "When the team doctor told me I was out for the playoffs, I didn't believe him, because I believe in God."— Royce Young (@royceyoung) May 24, 2014
Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman has more details from Ibaka:
Ibaka said he's waiting to see what the team doctor says about his availability and how his body feels tomorrow.— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) May 24, 2014
Ibaka said if he plays it'll be painful. Asked if he's concerned about further injury he said, "I'm a tough guy."— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) May 24, 2014
Updates from Friday, May 23
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the latest on Serge Ibaka:
Serge Ibaka has rapidly progressed and Thunder have changed status to day-to-day for Western Conference Finals, league source tells Yahoo.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 23, 2014
OKC ran Ibaka through battery of tests on Thursday and his calf responded well. Still soreness but a Sunday Game 3 return is possible.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 23, 2014
The Thunder issued a statement from general manager Sam Presti regarding their big man:
The abundance of blood and therefore swelling in Serge’s calf has reduced substantially and unexpectedly, allowing a level of movement and stability not thought possible after the initial diagnosis. Based on both imaging and physical exam, the considerable swelling in the calf indicated the likelihood of a certain degree of injury, and that established the original time frame for recovery.
At present, Serge has yet to complete a full basketball workout, but is walking and doing light basketball drills. With this new information, and in an effort to keep his status current, we are now listing him as day-to-day with the understanding that there is a possibility for him to play in this series.
Updates from Tuesday, May 20
Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reports Serge Ibaka has not given up on the possibility of a return:
Ibaka is back in Oklahoma City for Games 1 and 2 – ruled out of the playoffs with a lower leg injury – but his willingness to play with pain, his loyalty to the championship cause, has him thinking about starting some stationary shooting late this week, a league source told Yahoo Sports on Monday.
How the ever-conservative and protective Thunder will react to Ibaka's eagerness is uncertain, but coach Scott Brooks repeated over and over late Monday: "He's not coming through those doors. … He's not coming back." ...
... Deep down, Ibaka understands his medical timetable couldn't possibly include a return to these conference finals, but no one has yet talked him out of the belief he'd be back in the lineup if the Thunder advanced to the NBA Finals, a source said. The Thunder believed this injury would be a one-to-two-month recovery period. Without a tear in that plantaris muscle, though, Ibaka wants to believe it can be sooner.
Updates from Sunday, May 18
Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman had an update on Serge Ibaka's recovery after being ruled out for the postseason:
Serge Ibaka is not traveling with the Thunder to San Antonio with the team. Receiving treatment in OKC.— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 18, 2014
Updates from Friday, May 16
The Oklahoma City Thunder have been dealt a crushing blow as they prepare for the Western Conference Finals. The team's official Twitter account provided an update on forward Serge Ibaka's status:
News: MRI confirms Serge Ibaka suffered left calf injury during last night's game. He is expected to miss remainder of the 2014 postseason.— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) May 16, 2014
Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman passed along Thunder general manager Sam Presti's statement:
Statement from Sam Presti on Serge Ibaka's injury, which will likely sideline him for the playoffs: pic.twitter.com/ky84zTvQBS— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 16, 2014
Sam Presti said Serge Ibaka's calf injury is a Grade 2 strain: "The recovery process is lengthy because the reinjury probability is so high"— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) May 16, 2014
The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry has more from Presti:
Sam Presti: "We'll respond admirably. We'll have to adapt. We'll have to adjust."— Darnell Mayberry (@DarnellMayberry) May 16, 2014
Yahoo's Marc J. Spears provides more details on the injury from Presti:
Presti said Ibaka's injury is in the plantaris part of the calf.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 16, 2014
The Oklahoma City Thunder are moving on to the Western Conference Finals after dispatching the Los Angeles Clippers in six games, but forward Serge Ibaka's status is suddenly in doubt. He suffered a calf injury during Game 6 on Thursday night, per Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports:
Serge Ibaka grabbed his left leg and is heading to locker room— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 16, 2014
Thunder forward Serge Ibaka is doubtful to returns with a left calf injury.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 16, 2014
After the game, DailyThunder.com's Royce Young had an update from Scott Brooks:
Scott Brooks says he doesn't have an update on Serge Ibaka's calf yet. "I think he'll be alright but we won't know until tomorrow."— Royce Young (@royceyoung) May 16, 2014
Spears also noted Ibaka's concern:
On Ibaka's injured calf, Brooks said he doesn't know yet and says he will know more Friday. Said Ibaka told him he was uncertain.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) May 16, 2014
The 24-year-old had added little to the box score in Game 6 before leaving the court, scoring six points, grabbing two rebounds and blocking a shot.
For most of the series, though, Ibaka has been a major asset for the Thunder. Prior to Thursday night, he was averaging 12.4 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.0 blocks a game. All of it makes you realize the James Harden trade was probably a good move after all:
I'm gonna keep hammering this. If they kept Harden, they wouldn't have re-signed Ibaka, who they need WAAAAAAY more.— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) May 15, 2014
Though Oklahoma City prevailed in Game 6, the squad could be in a lot of trouble if Ibaka is forced to miss time during the Western Conference Finals. He's a big part of the Thunder's defensive plans and will be crucial to countering Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter's combined presence in the post.
With this injury, the Thunder may be one step closer to another playoff exit earlier than they expected.