Serge Ibaka’s calf injury was the talk of the 2014 Western Conference Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder just over a month ago. The silver and black won the series in six games, but Ibaka returned after being declared ‘out for the rest of the playoffs’ by Thunder general manager Sam Presti.
Ibaka made his comeback in Game 3 to help the Thunder defeat the Spurs 106-97 and posted 15 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes.
The 6-10 forward/center spoke to ESPN about playing through the injury to try and help his team
[The doctors] told me I was going to be out for the rest of the playoffs: “The MRI showed that you are bleeding a lot in your calf and you’re going to be out the rest of the playoffs.” But my heart was telling me, “You’re going to be back.”
“I’m not just going to sit back and watch the rest of the playoffs at home.” I wasn’t listening to them. They told me “This is dangerous, this is serious; you can’t play like that.” I was like, “Man, excuse me, I’m about to play. This is too early to happen to me. (1) I’m not getting surgery, and (2) Trust me, I’m going to be back to play. At least one game, at least Game 7 or Game 6 or whatever, I will play.”
Ibaka playing through the pain shows he has determination and heart for his team and the game of basketball. With an attitude like that, he just might become a dominating force for Oklahoma City in the coming years. The rest of the league will be watching very closely.
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