Russell Westbrook to Make Preseason Debut vs. Pelicans After Knee Injury

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 6, 2017

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook smiles on the bench during before the team's NBA preseason basketball game against the Houston Rockets in Tulsa, Okla., Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Billy Donovan said reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook will make his preseason debut Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans, according to Erik Horne of the Oklahoman.

Horne added that Westbrook is likely to only appear in the first quarter before sitting the rest of the contest.

Westbrook missed OKC's first preseason game after receiving a platelet-rich plasma injection in his left knee two weeks ago.

Westbrook's return creates plenty of buzz for Friday's game, as it will allow observers to get their first taste of the new-look Thunder in a competitive environment.

Oklahoma City acquired both Paul George and Carmelo Anthony this offseason, giving it a true Big Three and perhaps vaulting it into the discussion for Western Conference supremacy with the Golden State Warriors.

In a 104-97 loss to the Houston Rockets on Tuesday at the BOK Center, George registered 15 points, five rebounds and two assists, while Melo rained in a team-high 19 points.

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Thunder is whether George and Anthony can coexist with Westbrook because of the MVP's penchant for controlling the basketball.

Putting up 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists per contest, Westbrook enjoyed a historic 2016-17 campaign as the first player since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple-double.    

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