Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will need surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee suffered during Game 2 against the Rockets, and he will miss games in the 2013 NBA Playoffs, but his season may not be over. The tear is considered "minimal" and "perhaps two percent of the meniscus," meaning that Westbrook could recover and return to the floor in several weeks if doctors decide to "clean up" his knee, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.
No official timetable has been set for his recovery, and general manager Sam Presti refused to speculate on the situation until the surgery occurred. Oklahoma City's star point guard is expected to undergo surgery some time in the next two days.
The team announced that the injury occurred during the second quarter of Game 2 on Wednesday. During that period, Rockets guard Patrick Beverley unexpectedly lunged for the ball as Westbrook crossed halfcourt and signaled to the official for a timeout. The three-time NBA All-Star hobbled along the sidelines, pounded the scorer's table with his fist and was clearly upset with Beverley on the play.
However, he returned to the floor and logged a total of 37 minutes in the game, so the immediate impact of the play was not known. Westbrook is still "irate" at Beverley, according to Wojnarowski's piece. The angry responses fans are sending to Beverley on his Twitter account are not for the faint of heart.
Here's a look at the play:
At Thunder blog Welcome to Loud City, they have a full video of the incident and some sobering reaction to the latest developments with Westbrook's injury:
The loss of Westbrook changes the entire dynamic of the Western Conference immediately. While the Thunder still have All-World player Kevin Durant, the reality is that Durant has not played without Westbrook since the Thunder were called the Sonics.
Westbrook has played in 439 consecutive games for the Thunder and has never missed a game in his NBA career. Unfortunately, that is all about to change.
As for his recovery, this extensive Reuters article on meniscus tears in the NBA suggests that Westbrook should be able to return in top form whenever he does get back on the court:
Recovery time from a meniscus tear depends on how extensive the injury is and whether it needs surgery, said Dr. Mark Drakos, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.
"There are certain guys that have gotten back in a couple weeks and there's other people... that take more like three or four months," Drakos, who wasn't involved in the new study, told Reuters Health.
But he said that the findings were generally good news for both professional and recreational athletes who suffer a meniscus injury.
"I would be encouraged in terms of the fact that a lot of these guys return to play at a high level," Drakos said.
For more on this developing story, stay tuned to the dedicated StoryStream at SB Nation NBA.