Philadelphia, PA — Earlier this month the basketball world learned that 7-time NBA All-Star Russell Westbrook had some routine arthroscopic knee surgery done and will possibly miss the first four weeks of the NBA preseason and possibly some of the regular season.
Based on the timing of the injury, the Oklahoma City Thunder should be able to survive the injury for several reasons.
Early in the Season
If the Thunder going to pick a time when they’d go without their star, this would be the ideal time for that to take place. NBA Preseason games don’t count and losing earlier games in the regular season shouldn’t hurt too much, because there’s 82 games to be played.
With 5-time All-Star Paul George at the Thunder’s advantage, the Thunder have a player that can lead the Thunder while Russell Westbrook is out. George has led his former Indiana Pacers to the NBA Playoffs in the past, NBA Semi-Finals in 2012 against the Miami Heat, and he’s been the main star on his own team for 6 to 7 seasons before joining the Thunder.
With all these points made, the one thing the Thunder should be concerned about, is the mileage on Westbrook, plus the simple fact that Westbrook is still nursing an injury he suffered back in April of 2013 during a play involving Patrick Beverly.
The Thunder should ask themselves how severe is Russell Westbrook’s injury, and will it resurface later this season and in the future. Russell Westbrook is 29 years of age, and to constantly have knee surgeries at this point of his career, it will take its toll on his body eventually.
However, if Russell Westbrook is able to remain healthy, some of the pick-ups the team has made during the off-season such as Dennis Schroder, Nerlens Noel, and Patrick Peterson, should help the Thunder advance beyond the first round this season.
In the early portion of the regular season the Thunder will be playing four of their first 6 games against teams that didn’t advance to the playoffs last season: The Phoenix Suns, two games against the Clippers, and the Sacramento Kings.