Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook says he is "pain free" after knee clash

From being one of the most durable players in the league to causing a collective “sigh” whenever his surgically repaired knee gets hit – Russell Westbrook sure knows how to keep fans on the edge of their seat.

After coming back the latest time, Westbrook has been on minute restrictions and has also been held out of certain games in order to keep him fresh and work him back into things at the proper rate. After sitting out against the Cleveland Cavaliers, he returned to the lineup against the Raptors, but after a clash of knees with Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Westbrook left the game and would take no further part.

While Kevin Durant ensured that the Thunder would not lose, scoring 51 points including the 3pt dagger with 1.7 seconds left on the clock in double overtime – attention quickly turned to the status of Westbrook and “that” knee.

Sitting in the locker room post game, Westbrook remained positive. He was in good spirits and made sure to mention that he is “pain free” but would obviously be assessed and monitored over the next few days. He was able to leave the locker room without a brace, without crutches and with a smile on his face.

Great news for not only the All Star point guard, but also for the entire Thunder franchise, team and fans alike.

The knee is jury is being reported at this stage as a sprain which is not ideal but the best case scenario for Westbrook. The past issues with that troublesome knee have been with the meniscus so to avoid another injury of that sort is a “silver lining”. More information will be on hand after the secondary follow up with team doctors and we will be able to gauge the extent of the injury, the impact on Westbrook and the Thunder and whether or not he will miss any time.

As the Thunder race toward the NBA Playoffs, another injury is not ideal. They are already without Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins and while Reggie Jackson is no stranger to the starting lineup, having Westbrook in uniform makes the Thunder more potent. Sitting a game and a half out of top spot in the West, the Thunder can’t afford to lose any of the momentum they have created during this road trip.

The Thunder don’t play again until Monday March 24th against the Denver Nuggets and it would be nice to see Russ back in uniform, but don’t hold your breath. The Thunder are notoriously stringent and are always looking at the bigger picture – and championships aren’t won in March.

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Tags: Russell Westbrook

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