Remember that slow start the Thunder could get off to without Russell Westbrook in the lineup for the first month of the season or so?
Don’t bet on it being that slow.
Oklahoma Thunder star Russell Westbrook has made significant progress in his recovery from a second surgical procedure on his knee and could return to the Thunder’s lineup within two weeks, league sources told Yahoo Sports….
Westbrook began participating in Thunder practice sessions and has impressed everyone with his explosion and fast return to form, sources said.
Take all reports of recovery with a grain of salt, but the fact he is practicing is a very good sign.
Even if Westbrook comes back and is not quite himself yet, every game he can help the Thunder win matters — remember, the difference between being the one seed and the five seed (and starting the playoffs on the road) in the West was five games last season. Those “meaningless” early season losses where Kevin Durant alone can’t get the Thunder over the hump can make the postseason road tougher.
The fact is the Thunder start the season with six games against teams that did not make the playoffs last season (although Minnesota and Detroit will be improved). If they can hold their own through the start and Westbrook is back early, they have a good shot at that No. 1 seed again.