The Oklahoma City Thunder expected to be without star point guard Russell Westbrook until December at the earliest to start the 2013-14 NBA season due to a knee surgery in the preseason to reduce swelling. Then, in what appeared to be a miraculous recovery, Westbrook was on the floor, suited up, and playing in the Thunder’s third game of the season.
Westbrook showed some rust early on, as you would expect from a player that had little training in the offseason and had no time to prepare in the preseason. However, he was starting to really catch fire in December until surprising news surfaced that Westbrook had undergone another surgery on his knee to reduce swelling and would be out until “after the All-Star break” in February.
Though it’s much too early to speculate, it seems that Westbrook is on his way to returning well ahead of the initial timetable once again.
According to a report from Royce Young at Daily Thunder, Westbrook was walking with two crutches last week, but had gotten down to just one crutch on New Year’s Eve (Tuesday). On Thursday prior to the Thunder’s contest with the Brooklyn Nets, though, Westbrook was walking around the locker room “without the aid of any crutch, but just a black wrap around his repaired right knee. No limp, no favoring a leg, no anything.”
Young later included a quote from OKC’s head coach Scott Brooks that said that Brooks was “not at all” concerned about Westbrook’s health going forward and the ill effects of the knee surgeries he’s undergone this season.
While you have to wonder if the Thunder will take it a bit slower this time around than they did with the first knee surgery, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit to see Westbrook back before the end of January. Once again there might be some rust when he returns and the Thunder have been quite good even with the point guard out of the lineup, but there’s no denying that a healthy Westbrook makes them title contenders rather than just impressive.