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Local News

April 27, 2013

Thunder's Westbrook out, needs knee surgery

OKLAHOMA CITY — All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will have surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee and 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 keeps advancing 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. “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.

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