The story is not Thunder-specific, obviously, and it is doubtful that the Hornets were going to move up to the 5th spot for the playoffs to pair off against the Thunder in the first round. However, the West injury still has playoff implications, namely who could still move up and snatch the Hornets' spot.
The Hornets have endured a lot this year, and this news is a tragic bit that just might seal the deal on any sort of redeeming value for the 2010-11 season. Whether or not you're a Hornets fan, there's no doubt that David West is a good guy and a very good player, and he has operated on a pay scale for most of his career that has been undervalued. At 31 years old, it is now much less likely that he's going to get that one final big payoff for which he had been holding out.
For the playoffs, the Hornets currently hold the #7 spot, one game ahead of the Grizzlies, three games ahead of Houston and four games ahead of the Suns. They also face a brutal final two weeks, with every single team either already in the playoffs or within striking distance to make the playoffs. Chris Paul has been banged up all year. Without their primary low post scoring threat, I really don't know how they're going to hold on. It might even be best if they don't. There is some talent coming through the draft, a lockout on the horizon, and there is the uncertainty of whether the franchise can even make it at all in New Orleans. Snake-bit? Yeah, unfortunately.