Russell Westbrook underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee today, and will be out until after the All-Star break, reports Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman.
Westbrook initially came back from his torn meniscus ahead of schedule, and while he struggled early, it was clear that he still had all the explosiveness that makes Russ Russ. He'd picked it up over the past few weeks, too, with 21.9 points, 9.2 assists, and 8.3 rebounds on 46.2 percent shooting in 32 minutes over his last 10 games.
If he comes back in the first game after the ASG (and even then, that means no Westbrook in the ASG, which, dammit), he'll have missed 27 games. But the Thunder have been clear that that isn't a hard date.
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 Sam Presti in a release. "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.
Presti added in a conference call that this latest problem stems from "a player crashing into [Westbrook's] knee." So, Patrick Beverley.
The Thunder are currently a half-game back of the Trail Blazers for the top seed in the West, and the Spurs are a game back of OKC. If they take a dive with Russ out (and they looked preeetty bad in the first few games of the season), they could drop into the mess of teams bunched up from four to nine, separated by just four games.
OKC has benefitted from improved play from Jeremy Lamb and especially Reggie Jackson, but neither is Russ (nor is either James Harden or Kevin Martin), and it's not really close. That means Kevin Durant is going to have to get back on the LeBron impersonation horse, and while he's perfectly capable of that, this is going to look more like Bron running around with Boobie and Mo than the Thunder we know.