Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka will miss 4-6 weeks after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday, according to Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman. That could keep the big man out into the playoffs should the Thunder make it.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti said that Ibaka was playing on a sore knee since February and other attempts to treat it have not worked. The Thunder tried holding Ibaka out of practice and later had Ibaka's knee drained, but neither measure worked.
"If we continued to manage in-season with aspiration and medication and rest, it probably wasn't going to plateau the discomfort or the swelling," Presti told The Oklahoman. "The only way to really get on top of that would be to go in and have a brief clean-out to try to take some of the roughening off of the kneecap."
The news of the procedure was first broken by ESPN's Royce Young on Monday. The Thunder declined to confirm at the time that Ibaka was about to undergo surgery.
"As we continue to monitor and evaluate the soreness in Serge's knee, in consultation with his representation, we decided the next best step is to have him travel to New York to see a specialist," a team spokesman said in a statement to ESPN on Monday. "We will provide an update as appropriate."
Ibaka has missed thelast two games. The plan, according to Young, was for him to have a clean-out procedure now in order to be ready for the playoffs.
But the question is whether Oklahoma City can still make it to the postseason with Ibaka joining Kevin Durant on sidelines. The Thunder are currently 37-30 and in eighth place in the Western Conference, but their lead over the ninth-place Pelicans is just a half a game and New Orleans holds the tie-breaker between the two teams. Durant has missed the Thunder's last 11 games with a foot injury and it's unknown when he will return.
On the season, Ibaka is averaging 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.
(This post has been updated).