Russell Westbrook returns to court tonight for Thunder vs. Knicks

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Those are the words Thunder fans have been desperate to hear — Russell Westbrook is back.

Well, at least half of the words they wanted to hear. Kevin Durant remains out (foot surgery has kept him out all season but he is expected to return soon). However, Westbrook has been out since the second game of the season with a hand fracture and he is going to return at home against the Knicks (playing without Carmelo Anthony).

Royce Young of ESPN had other details.

This is huge for the 4-12 Thunder, currently the 10th seed in the West and with a lot of work to do to get back in the playoff mix in the West.

To reach the 49 wins it took to make the playoffs in the West last season, the Thunder need to go 45-21 the rest of the way, a 68.2 win percentage. That is doable, they won 72 percent of their games last season (despite Westbrook missing time), but this season they might need to do an even better than that — while it’s ridiculously early in the season the West’s current eight seed (Phoenix) is on a 51-win pace.