Horror has struck Oklahoma City this afternoon after word broke out that Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will undergo surgery on a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee. No timetable for his return has been released.
The Thunder’s chances for a return to the NBA Finals has undoubtedly received a heavy blow. Westbrook is one of the Thunder’s top scorers and playmakers. The NBA All-Star averaged 23.2 points, 7.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.77 steals per game this season.
A Thunder press-release was issued early this afternoon:
“Our players’ health is our first and foremost concern. The Thunder’s medical team and several specialists we consulted with determined that Russell undergo a procedure to address the issue,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “We have thoroughly discussed this with Russell. Despite being the competitor and teammate that he is, he respects and understands the decision and is committed to come back even stronger. Certainly Russell is a leader and core player for this team, but we are in the midst of the playoffs and I know other players are determined to step up and contribute. We have a resilient group of players who have always taken pride in playing as a team and that approach will continue.”
A lateral tear in the meniscus, which is what Westbrook has, is much more serious than a medial tear. The surgery will either consist of repairing the tear or simply cutting out the torn pieces of the meniscus. Depending on the seriousness of the injury, meniscus tears can keep a player out between 2-8 weeks.
Metta World Peace returned from meniscus surgery after 13 days. But that was a pretty extreme case. Timetable is typically 6-8 weeks.
— Royce Young (@dailythunder) April 26, 2013
The Thunder will have to rely on Reggie Jackson and Derek Fisher to fill in for Westbrook. Jackson has proven to be a solid back-up to Westbrook this season, but he is only in his second year in the NBA. Fisher is a veteran in the league, and was picked up by the Thunder just before the playoffs.
Thunder fans will be hoping for a speedy recovery from their All-Star point guard, but until then, the Thunder will have to make due without him.
Now please excuse me while I go vomit.