Serge Ibaka Injury: Updates on Thunder Star's Calf and Return

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMay 16, 2014

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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:

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:

Earlier in the day, Ibaka spoke about how his injured calf was holding up with J.A. Adande of ESPN:

Ibaka also spoke more about the process that eventually led to the Thunder star playing (via Jeff Caplan of NBA.com and Young):

Updates from Saturday, May 24

Royce Young of ESPN provides an update on Serge Ibaka's injury:

Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman has more details from Ibaka:

Updates from Friday, May 23

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports has the latest on Serge Ibaka:

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:

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:

Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman passed along Thunder general manager Sam Presti's statement:

The Oklahoman's Darnell Mayberry has more from Presti:

Yahoo's Marc J. Spears provides more details on the injury from Presti:

Original Text

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:

After the game, DailyThunder.com's Royce Young had an update from Scott Brooks:

Spears also noted Ibaka's concern:

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:

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.

Without Ibaka, more pressure would be heaped upon the already taxed duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook as well.

With this injury, the Thunder may be one step closer to another playoff exit earlier than they expected.