Russell Westbrook underwent successful surgery to repair the torn meniscus in his right knee on Saturday, Oklahoma City officially announced. He will make a full recovery. That’s the good news if you’re an Oklahoma City Thunder fan.
He will be out for these entire playoffs. That’s the bad news.
The question of his return really couldn’t be known until the surgeon opened up his knee and got a good look at the tear and what kind of repair would be done (remove the damage or sew it up, essentially). There was no timetable given by the Thunder for his return outside of missing this postseason.
Westbrook and the Thunder needed to make the long-term decision here, fix it and not rush him back. Westbrook is 24, Kevin Durant is 24 and both are locked up with long-term deals — the Thunder have a long championship window. They need to think about next season and the five beyond that, not this playoff push.
It appears the Thunder did that.
Reggie Jackson will get the start in Westbrook’s place (and he’s been solid). This could mean more Derek Fisher on the court as well.
The injury occurred midway through the second quarter of the Thunder’s Game 2 win over the Rockets. These playoffs have had a rash of injuries that have sidelined star players — Kobe Bryant, David Lee and of course guys who have been out longer such as Rajon Rondo or Derrick Rose — and it’s sucked some of the joy out of the postseason. This injury opens up the Western Conference, where the Thunder went from the favorites to very beatable.