Mike D'Antoni: 'Nobody Knows' When Russell Westbrook Will Return from InjuryAugust 19, 2020
The Houston Rockets didn't need Russell Westbrook during Tuesday's 123-108 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 1 of their first-round series, but they will surely need him at some point in the playoffs.
On Wednesday, Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni didn't offer many specifics when it comes to a timeline for Westbrook's recovery from a strained right quadricep.
"I don't know how long it's going to take, and if it's going to take a little bit," he said, per Mark Medina of USA Today. "He's been working hard and is feeling better everyday. The images are looking better, but I think it's too early to say how many days he's out. Nobody knows."
Medina noted Westbrook underwent an MRI on Tuesday, while D'Antoni said the point guard "feels a lot better" following conditioning drills and work on a stationary bike.
As expected, James Harden did much of the heavy lifting without his All-Star teammate in Game 1, finishing with 37 points and 11 rebounds while hitting six three-pointers. He can initiate the offense as a ball-handler, and Houston can also turn to Austin Rivers at point guard if needed.
Still, Westbrook is a former league MVP, eight-time All-NBA selection, two-time scoring champion and two-time assist champion who can take over a game at a moment's notice.
He gives the Rockets an insurance policy if Harden, who dominates so much of the offense in isolation sets and pick-and-roll plays, is having a bad game or even a poor series. He averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.6 steals per game this season, his first in Houston after an extended career with the Thunder.
Westbrook was a vocal leader from the sidelines during the Rockets' Game 1 win over his former team, spearheading the cheers and talking with teammates when they came to the bench.
It appears he will have to play a similar role in Thursday's Game 2.