Russell Westbrook expected to return from injury Thursday vs. Heat, according to report

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Thunder expect Russell Westbrook to return Thursday against the Heat.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are "hopeful" that Russell Westbrook will return to the lineup Thursday against the Miami Heataccording to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports.

The team announced on Dec. 27 that Westbrook had surgery on his right knee and the Thunder star was expected back sometime after the All-Star break without a specific return date. Spears reports that Westbrook will be re-evaluated on Tuesday, leaving him enough time to return for the Thunder's game against the Heat on Thursday.

Westbrook averaged 21.3 points, seven assists and six rebounds in 25 games this season. In his absence, Thunder star Kevin Durant has elevated his game to an unbelievable level, but he is ready for his co-pilot's return (via Spears).

"This whole group, they are resilient," Durant said. "We persevered through everything and just stayed together. We had faith no matter what. We are looking forward to having Russell back and make it seem less of a transition for him."

Oklahoma City owns the league's best record at 43-12 and sits in first place atop the Western Conference, four games ahead of the second place Spurs.

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