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Russell Westbrook to return from injury against Knicks

The Oklahoma City guard is back in the Thunder lineup after missing 14 games with a broken hand.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Russell Westbrook is back. The Oklahoma City Thunder point guard will make his return from a hand injury on Friday night against the New York Knicksaccording to The Oklahoman's Anthony Slater. He won't have a minutes restriction and will start for coach Scott Brooks.

Westbrook injured his right hand in the second game of the season and missed 14 games total. Oklahoma City has struggled mightily without Westbrook and reigning MVP Kevin Durant. It's currently sitting at 4-12 and in third-to-last place in the Western Conference.

Westbrook and Durant both returned to practice on Nov. 22, but Westbrook will be the first of the Thunder's stars to return. Durant remains out for the Friday night game, though the Thunder will also have second-year forward Grant Jerrett available for the first time this season, according to Slater.

It's not Westbrook's first return from injury. Westbrook had knee surgery prior to the 2013-14 season and missed the team's first two games before having another knee surgery after the team's Christmas day win. He returned after the All-Star break but was used sparingly. Westbrook only played in 46 games last season.

The Thunder still earned the West's second seed, but that was with Kevin Durant playing MVP-level basketball. After making the Western Conference finals, the Thunder had high hopes leading up to this season. But the injury bug grabbed hold of the Thunder. Not only did they lose Durant and Westbrook to start the season, Perry Jones hurt his right knee, leaving the Thunder with few options. The Thunder have struggled mightily this season.

In Westbrook's only full game of the season, he scored 38 points against the Trail Blazers. He was injured the next game after playing just nine minutes against the Clippers.

In the West, it's likely to take about 50 wins to make the playoffs. The Thunder may have given up too many losses without their stars, but with Westbrook returning and Durant not far behind, the Thunder will look to make a playoff push.