Two weeks ago, Russell Westbrook underwent a knee procedure to mend what has been described as “stiffness” according to ESPN’s Royce Young. The expected amount of time Westbrook is expected out is four weeks, at which point he would be reevaluated. That date falls the day after the Thunder’s final preseason game on October 9th.
Sam Presti’s introductory press conference for the 2018-19 NBA season revealed a few details on Westbrook’s estimated time away from the team.
“First, we would never push Russell or any player for that matter, like on to the floor because of a specific date,” Presti told reporters on Thursday. “You know what I’m saying, like the season starts on this date, so I think that would be foolish and we’ve never done that. We wouldn’t start doing that now.”
Make no mistake, Westbrook will play when Westbrook is ready. There is little out there to keep him off the floor when healthy. The Thunder know this, and as Presti said, would never rush him back at 90 percent just because the Golden State Warriors are the first test.
But if the original information was correct — that the procedure was pre-emptive and an effort to prevent further harm and discomfort — it is safe to think that Westbrook will in fact be ready for Oklahoma City’s first game on October 16th barring any dramatic changes.
“It was a pretty minor thing that he had to have done,” Presti added. “And he’ll be back. We’ll see how that reevaluation goes but then you have to work through rehab to noncontact, contact, to — and then you’ve got to get back to the level that you play at normally.”
Last season, Westbrook underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection prior to the start of training camp. He missed the first day of camp but returned quickly. Afterwards, it still took a few weeks until Westbrook looked himself during the early regular season. The fact remains is that he was on the floor.
This will probably be the case this time. It would be shocking to not see Westbrook introduced in the starting lineup on October 16th in Oakland.
“We feel good that we’ll have [Westbrook] at some point relatively early in the year,” Presti said.