Russell Westbrook has sustained a torn meniscus in his right knee, and is currently out indefinitely, according to The Oklahoman. Westbrook will undergo surgery eminently, but there is no time table for his return.
Westbrook was likely injured midway through the 2nd quarter of Game 2, when Rockets guard Patrick Beverley ran into Westbrook's leg as Westbrook was intending to take a time-out.
Here is the play:
As you can see, Westbrook was furious at the play, likely both because of Beverley's aggressive move as well as the pain that he instantly felt in his knee. There has been debate over the past few days as to whether this play was 'dirty' or not, but as you can see, it was primarily an aggressive play and Westbrook was hit at an awkward angle.
The loss of Westbrook changes the entire dynamic of the Western Conference immediately. While the Thunder still have All-World player Kevin Durant, the reality is that Durant has not played without Westbrook since the Thunder were called the Sonics.
The last time the Thunder played a game without Russell Westbrook, they were the Seattle SuperSonics— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 26, 2013
Russell Westbrook has played in all 439 of the Thunder's games (including playoffs) since he entered the league.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 26, 2013
Sam Presti has released a statement on Westbrook:
"Our players' health is our first and foremost concern. The Thunder's medical team and several specialists we consulted with determined that Russell undergo a procedure to address the issue."
"We have thoroughly discussed this with Russell. Despite being the competitor and teammate that he is, he respects and understands the decision and is committed to come back even stronger. Certainly Russell is a leader and core player for this team, but we are in the midst of the playoffs and I know other players are determined to step up and contribute. We have a resilient group of players who have always taken pride in playing as a team and that approach will continue."
One small shard of hope - the Lakers' forward Metta World Peace sustained a lateral meniscus tear in late March and was expected to miss the rest of the season. However, he remarkably recovered in
4 weeks' time 12 days and was back in the line-up for the playoffs.
Westbrook was averaging 24.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 7.0 assists, and 3 steals in his first 2 games of the 2013 playoffs. Westbrook will likely be replaced by Reggie Jackson in the starting line-up, and the backup PG will be Derek Fisher.
More to come as the story unfolds.