OKLAHOMA CITY – The Thunder you heard Friday morning, came from inside the office of Sam Presti, the General Manager of OKC’s young, talented NBA team. And this particular “rumbling” was a slow, intense, painful type of noise…later felt by the entire organization and pro basketball fans all across the state.
Presti was charged with telling the world: Russell Westbrook, with the longest active consecutive games played streak in the *entire* NBA, was not only hurt – but injured seriously enough to be removed from the playoffs RIGHT NOW.
Wow – but ’tis true (sadly). The 6-3 all star guard from UCLA, who has never missed a game in high school, college or the pros, suffered a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee that will require surgery and sideline the Thunder floor general indefinitely. When did the injury occur? On that chippy play in game #2 last Wednesday night when OKC called a time out and both teams were criss-crossing the court to go to their respective benches. The whistle had yet to be blown and Houston’s Patrick Beverley rushed in to take a quick swipe at the ball, trying to steal it from Westbrook. The two players collided, Beverley’s hip to Westbrook’s knee – and who knew but…the damage had been done. Westbrook, in a fit of rage, slammed his fist against the padded scorers table, but held his composure long enough to limp around and later return – only to score a game high 29 points in the Thunder’s 105-102 win for a 2-0 series lead over the Rockets.
But Friday was the day, the time we found out what REALLY happened. And now, Westbrook faces an arthroscopic procedure in the very near future, most likely in Vail, CO…and then we’ll know if he’ll miss a series or the entirety of the post-season to come. This after the kid upped his NBA leading streak to 439 consecutive ballgames played when he gutted out his outstanding performance in game #2.
Bob Barry Jr. has more from Houston including comments from Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, all-star forward Kevin Durant, General Manager Sam Presti and Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley, the foe who was involved in the play that led to the injury. Game #3 in the series is Saturday night at 8:30pm inside the Toyota Center in Houston and on national TV.