Russell Westbrook met with the media in Oklahoma City on Thursday for the first time since suffering the torn lateral meniscus injury that required season-ending surgery.
Most objective observers of the play that caused the injury, where the Rockets’ Patrick Beverley aggressively tried to get a steal as Westbrook was preparing to call for timeout, know that there wasn’t anything dirty about it. The play is a common one in the NBA, made on literally a nightly basis during the regular season by countless players.
But when asked what he thought about how he was injured, Westbrook refused to absolve Beverley of his actions.
Westbrook didn’t know what to think about the play that caused his injury. It’s a play he has made in other games, including in the Houston series.
“That’s really something I can’t answer. I know I just hope it wasn’t a dirty play,” Westbrook said.
Beverley has said he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone and was simply trying to make a play on the ball. Westbrook said he hasn’t heard from Beverley since the injury, but he’s focused on moving forward.
The frustration felt by Westbrook in being unable to play with his teammates deep into the playoffs must border on unbearable, considering both his All-Star status and the fact he’d never missed a game in his career up until this point.
But perpetuating the myth that Beverley is somehow to blame for the injury is petty and irresponsible. Westbrook himself has made similar plays in the past, one of which can be seen in the video clip below.
The injury, obviously, is beyond unfortunate. But Westbrook needs to focus on the future, instead of holding onto the idea that it may have been preventable if only Beverley hadn’t made a play that had intentions beyond basketball.
Because clearly, that wasn’t the case.