OKC Thunder Injury news: Russell Westbrook out 4 weeks following right knee scope

Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)
Russell Westbrook, OKC Thunder (Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images) /

OKC Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook underwent an arthroscopic right knee procedure which will keep him out for at least the next four weeks.

For the second consecutive season Russell Westbrook starts his year coming off a knee procedure. This because the OKC Thunder point guard underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his right knee today (Wednesday, September 12) to deal with inflammation and stiffness.

Erik Horne of NewOK offered the following:

"Westbrook felt stiffness and experienced inflammation in his knee last weekend, and elected to have surgery now as opposed to missing time deep into the season. The surgery, which the Thunder is calling a proactive procedure, was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache with Thunder medical personnel present at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles."

Last year Westbrook underwent a plasma injection on his opposite knee (left) just prior to season start. What this means for the OKC Thunder is Westbrook will realistically be out for the next month – potentially longer.

This isn’t ideal news nor timing. The club however, would rather address this now as opposed to allowing the situation to progressively get worse and result in issues in season.

Should Westbrook return in a month he would be available to start the season, and he typically is a quick healer. Despite this, the difference this season is the Thunder’s depth which provides more leeway.

Specifically, the addition of Dennis Schroder this summer offers a starting caliber point guard to step in should Westbrook require a longer window or if the team elect to ease him back into the lineup. Theoretically the German can be used in the starting rotation with Raymond Felton providing his typical backup role.

On the bright side this would also allow Schroder time to build chemistry with Steven Adams, Paul George and other starters. That becomes an important caveat as presumably the Thunder are

keen to play Schroder in clutch time later this season.

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And, if Russ does heal to return for season start, Billy Donovan can feel more comfortable limiting Westbrook’s minutes initially.  Another positive is the OKC Thunder begin the season on an easier segment of their schedule.

With Westbrook turning 30 in mid November and in the first year of his five year $205 million super max  deal the team obviously would rather exercise caution here.

Westbrook’s career began with an iron man reputation as the super star never missed a game through high school, college or his first few seasons in the NBA.

That was until our friend Patrick Beverley delivered a cheap shot in the 2013 playoffs (see Austin Sternlicht’s OKC Villains article) which resulted in a torn meniscus to the same knee. The Brodie required two knee surgeries for that issue (and another later to re-address the issue). But, he returned as if he’d never missed a beat, something rather unusual for a player as aggressive as Westbrook.

Although it’s not guaranteed the likelihood is he’ll miss all four preseason games and potentially the season opener against his nemesis Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors.

Next. Offseason report card – Grading every Sam Presti move. dark

While the hope would be he’d be on the court for this opening night match, clearly it is far more important he be available and healthy for what could potentially be a Western Conference Finals match up with the Dubs.