Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on his right knee on Friday, and will be out of the lineup until after the NBA All-Star break.
Thunder General Manager Sam Presti issued a statement today describing the situation:
“Russell has been playing pain free, but recently had experienced increased swelling. After consultation and consideration by his surgeon in Los Angeles, a plan was established to monitor the swelling that included a series of scheduled MRIs,” said Presti. “On the most recent MRI it was determined by the surgeon that there was an area of concern that had not previously existed, nor was detectable in the previous procedures, and it was necessary to evaluate Russell further. The consulting physician determined that arthroscopic surgery was necessary to address the swelling that was taking place. We know that Russell’s work ethic and commitment will help him return to the level of play that we have all come to appreciate.”
The Thunder did not immediately address when Westbrook will return other than to say he should be back after the All-Star break.
Westbrook first injured his knee in the playoffs last year and had off-season surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
He had a second surgery in September to repair a loose stitch and was expected to be out until December, but returned way ahead of schedule, and was back in the lineup for the third game of the season.
Presti said on a conference call Friday Westbrook has been playing without pain, but the team had been monitoring his knee’s progress with a series of MRI’s.
The most recent was a day or two before Christmas, and revealed swelling that required arthroscopic surgery.
The need for surgery did not keep Westbrook from playing on Chritmas Day, when he had a triple double in a 123-94 win at New York.
Presti said the Thunder plan to closely monitor Westbrook’s progress from this third surgery, and will only allow him to play when he’s ready.
Presti said the early return from Westbrook’s second surgery in September was not a factor in him needing the most recent surgery, and there was no way to anticipate the need for a third surgery.
The Thunder play at Charlotte tonight at 6:00 pm.
Reggie Jackson is expected to start while Westbrook is sidelined.