Russell Westbrook out indefinitely with knee injury

The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook hurt his right knee in Game 2 Wednesday.
Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press
The Thunder’s Russell Westbrook hurt his right knee in Game 2 Wednesday.

OKLAHOMA CITY — All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will have surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee and will be out indefinitely, dealing a harsh blow to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s championship chances.

General manager Sam Presti said Friday that the Thunder had not yet scheduled Westbrook’s surgery and would not have an accurate timeline for his return until after the procedure was done.

No one would rule out Westbrook’s possible return if Oklahoma City advances in the playoffs, and All-Star teammate Kevin Durant only said his teammates ‘‘hope’’ Westbrook can play again this postseason.


‘‘We’re not trying to rush him or bring him back ahead of schedule. We want to make sure he’s healthy and his knee is right,’’ Durant said.

Get Breaking Sports Alerts in your inbox:
Be the first to know the latest sports news as it happens.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

‘‘That’s our only concern with it right now. We have to come together as a team and worry about the basketball. All he has to worry about is him getting healthy.’’

The three-time All-Star was hurt in Game 2 of the Thunder’s playoff series against Houston on Wednesday night. Rookie Patrick Beverley lunged for a steal in the second quarter and his hip collided with Westbrook’s knee.

Beverley called Westbrook’s injury ‘‘unfortunate’’ and said Oklahoma City is still dangerous without him.

‘‘Anyone who knows me knows I don’t go out there and try to hurt anybody,’’ Beverley said. ‘‘I play at one speed and that’s fast. I was just trying to make a play on the ball before they called a timeout and it’s just unfortunate.’’


Coach Scott Brooks claimed after Westbrook missed practice Thursday that Westbrook would be ‘‘fine tomorrow,’’ but the team found out differently Friday morning.

‘‘Our team as a whole, we've got a resilient group of guys, a lot of character within that locker room and a group that enjoys playing together and has been through some adversities over the last several years that they've been together. We’d expect them to adjust, come together and have different guys step in and play well collectively,’’ Presti said.

‘‘Once we were able to gather all of the necessary information and everything was accumulated, it was an easy decision for our medical team.’’

Game 3 is Saturday night in Houston. Westbrook averaged 24 points and seven assists in the first two games, both won by top-seeded Oklahoma City.

Westbrook smashed his right hand down on the scorer’s table after Beverley crashed into him, but he remained in the game although he was clearly hobbling. Presti said Westbrook was allowed to keep playing because he felt comfortable and the team considered the injury action ‘‘consistent with a bone bruise.’’


It came as a surprise when Durant and the rest of the team arrived at the practice facility Friday that Westbrook, who had been seemingly indestructible, would be out.

In his fifth NBA season, Westbrook had never missed a game. He had the league’s longest active streak of consecutive games played, with 394 straight regular-season games.

He also has played in all 45 of Oklahoma City’s playoff games, including last year’s run to the NBA Finals.

‘‘I think we all know Russell. He obviously wants to play. But at the end of the day, this was a medical decision,’’ Presti said.

Backup and former BC standout Reggie Jackson figures to move into Westbrook’s starting spot as the only other player with any significant time playing the point.

Veteran Derek Fisher has previously played the point, but he has been primarily used as a spot-up 3-point shooter in two stints with Oklahoma City.

Brooks wouldn’t divulge his plans for how to replace Westbrook, but said Durant will have to take on even more playmaking duties.

‘‘He’s definitely going to have to be a guy that’s going to have to handle the ball more.

“But he has actually for this past year handled the ball more with that second unit,’’ Brooks said. ‘‘He’s always been somewhat of our point forward.’’