Seeing Thunder's Russell Westbrook go down with a knee injury in last year's postseason all but deflated the chances the Thunder had at capturing an NBA title. Without Westbrook's contributions, Kevin Durant shouldered the load but in the end, it proved to be futile.
However, Westbrook's knee is healed and he should be coming back to the court but the question is now — when?
Thunder General Manager Sam Presti shared the following about Westbrook’s return.
Via NBA Injury News:
“We expect him to take part in parts of camp and work his way through different parts until he's ultimately cleared for unrestricted activity,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. “But it's all going to be contingent upon how his body reacts to the additional load that he'll be carrying.”
Westbrook shared his thoughts on his recovery.
“I tried taking it one day at a time and not (worry about) the timetable,” Westbrook said. “Just take it one day at a time and try to find a way to strengthen myself and make sure I'm ready to go when it's time.”
Great news for Oklahoma City. Bad news for the rest of the West teams including the San Antonio Spurs.
Just like last year, maintaining the health of Kawhi Leonard, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili is critical, with a great focus on Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. With Parker feeling wore out from playing in the EuroBasket tournament, it will make the coaching staff tweak the plan to maintain health in to two separate phases.
The first phase of the season will be requiring Duncan and Ginobili holding down the fort while Parker gets his legs underneath him. Once Parker is back in game shape then he can hold down the fort on the nights when Gregg Popovich is resting Duncan and Ginobili.
However, once Russell is back on the floor for the Thunder, can the Spurs return to the NBA Finals with a fully healthy OKC team chomping at the bit to also return to the Finals?
Westbrook can be a thorn on the Spurs' collective side. Add him and Durant on the floor and you have a potent duo capable of dethroning the West Champs – San Antonio.
So Spurs’ fans looking towards the 2013-2014 season, do you believe ithe Spurs have what it takes to beat the Thunder in a 7-game series with a healthy Westbrook?