When the news broke that Russell Westbrook would be out indefinitely after needing to undergo surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus he suffered in the Thunder’s Game 3 win over the Rockets, all eyes turned to Patrick Beverley, and the play where Westbrook was injured.
Beverley ended up knocking knees with Westbrook, on a play where the Rockets guard was trying to steal the ball just before the Thunder were set to call a timeout.
Fans in Oklahoma City (and at the time, even Westbrook himself) seemed angry at Beverley for making this play, one that is routine in the NBA and happens on a nightly basis.
Speaking to reporters after shootaround on Friday, Beverley made it clear that he had no intention of trying to injure Westbrook.
“Unfortunate situation, of course,” he said. “You hate to see the type of player like that go out with an injury like that. But the Thunder are still a good team, and we have to prepare for a good team right now.”
Beverley was asked where he made contact with Westbrook, but said he hasn’t seen a replay of the incident.
“I don’t even remember,” he said. “I haven’t really seen it yet. I really don’t watch ESPN like that, so I haven’t see it yet. But like I said, it’s definitely unfortunate. I was definitely looking forward to playing Westbrook again and battling again. It’s just an unfortunate situation.”
As for whether or not trying to make that play as the opposing team is heading into a timeout is a questionable tactic, Beverley pointed out that it’s relatively common around the league, before making it known that he wasn’t trying to hurt anyone with his aggressive actions.
“A lot of people do it throughout the league,” he said. “Anyone who knows me, I don’t go out there and try to hurt anybody. I play at one speed, that’s fast. I crash for offensive rebounds. I was just trying to make a play on the ball before they called timeout, and a play like that I’ll continue to say, it’s just unfortunate right now.”
Finally, Beverley was asked if he believed the play he made was a basketball one, and whether or not there was anything dirty about it.
“No, I don’t think so,” he said. “I think I tried to make a play on the basketball before he called a timeout. No intention at all to try to injure anybody. Like I said, anyone who knows me knows that’s not my type of game.”