It happened midway through the third quarter, and while Oklahoma City’s collective breathe was being held after Russell Westbrook grabbed his surgically repaired right knee, Kevin Durant was in the midst of annihilating the Raptors in a double-OT epic. But after the adrenalin wore off, the Thunder still want to know what’s up with their star PG.
Below is a GIF/Vine/video of the injury, which occurred when Kyle Lowry bit on a Russ fake and landed knee-to-knee with Russ. As you can see, Russell’s knee crumples at an angle which makes us think it’s a bigger deal than Russ seemed to think after the game.
Darnell Mayberry wrote about Russell’s high spirits after the game for the Oklahoman:
Russell Westbrook was in great spirits after the game, which was the best possible thing we could have seen when the Thunder opened its locker room to the media after a double-overtime thriller that was overshadowed by uncertainty with how serious Westbrook’s knee injury was. But the star point guard who means so much to this team was in a jovial mood when reporters entered the Thunder’s dressing room. He was sitting at his locker, with a routine bag of ice wrapped around his right knee. He smiled, laughed and joked with teammates. He answered questions from the media, any and all that came his way. When his time icing was done, he stood and slipped nothing more than a tight black sleeve over his right leg. He covered that with a near equally-tight pair of black pants. After he pulled a sweater over his head, Westbrook strolled out of the locker room, out of Air Canada Centre and out of Canada walking with a defiant strut, as if he was determined to show the basketball world that, yes, he was OK.
Even better than his “defiant strut,” was Westbrook’s assertion post-game, “I don’t expect to miss no time.” Westbrook also said, he’s “pain-free” and the knee, “feels good.”
In terms of the diagnosis, Russ says, “I wouldn’t know much more until tomorrow. But as of right now, I feel good.”
Westbrook on the play in question: “I just kind of stepped back and Kyle, just playing defense, just tried to reach for the ball and kind of hit me on the side of my leg.”
Westbrook on his reaction after the play: “You been hurt before, you kind of get nervous like I did.”
Durant on the team after Westbrook’s injury and his own reaction when he saw it go down:
“We’re confident. We just got to believe that everything’s going to be all right. He’s walking around. It seems like everything’s all right. I don’t know too much about what’s going on. But I’m sure we’ll know here soon.
“I just hope it’s nothing serious. I just sat there and prayed and hopefully everything comes back negative and it’s just a little tweak and he’ll be able to play the next game.”
Here’s video of Russ talking to reporters after the game:
Something to note, per the excellent Royce Young of Daily Thunder:
We’ll have to wait until official word comes down. He also played the entire second half of a playoff game on a torn meniscus and walked out of the arena just fine that night saying he was good.
A note about Westbrook’s “knee sprain”: That’s often a blanket diagnosis for a knee injury from a team while they wait to evaluate something more. It’s not really good news, nor necessarily bad. It’s just a preliminary thing.
So there you have it: we’ll have to see what the MRI tests say about the severity of Russell’s injury. Those people who believe Durant and the Thunder are better off without Russ are wrong: come playoff time, they’ll need his hyperkinetic forays to the rim even more. Durant has been the MVP this season, but he’ll need Russell’s help if the Thunder are going to have the best chance of surviving the tough Western Conference to again compete for a title in June.
What do you think?
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