Per Royce Young on Twitter, Russell Westbrook underwent a procedure today to repair a fractured zygomatic arch. Westbrook will definitely miss Sunday's tussle with the Lakers, and will be re-evaluated later this week. The injury in question occurred during Friday night's game in Portland.
Zygomatic arch bone that Russell Westbrook fractured pic.twitter.com/fC5NEx6kZ3— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 28, 2015
How it happened
There were two seconds left in the fourth quarter, and the Thunder were down two. Westbrook had one shot left at the line. Russ went for the offensive board, as a tip-in would have tied the game. Sadly, Russ ended up flying to the floor. That wasn't the injury, though. As Russ rose up, he collided with the unaware Andre Roberson. It appears that Russ' head made contact with Roberson's knee, as you can see below:
It was really an unfortunate accident, but the fact that very few saw this coming is a testament to Westbrook's toughness. With Westbrook out on Sunday, D.J. Augustin is expected to get the start. The Thunder will have no backup point guard, and will likely experiment with Dion Waiters at the position. Perry Jones and Jeremy Lamb are currently the only two non-injured players on the roster who do not see regular minutes, so either of them could see the floor on Sunday.
Status of KD, Adams, Kanter
Kevin Durant, whom has been absent for five straight games with a foot injury, did some light shooting before Thursday night's game against the Phoenix Suns. Durant is expected to be re-evaluated after Sunday's game against the Lakers. Steven Adams had surgery to repair his metacarpal bone on February 8th, and also went through workouts on Thursday. Adams will be re-evaluated at the same time Durant is. Kanter was a surprise late scratch from Friday night's game against the Blazers, reportedly due to a thigh contusion. Kanter is listed as day-to-day, and his status for Sunday's game against the Lakers is unknown.
How long can we estimate Westbrook to be out?
There's a great article by Jeff Stotts over at In Street Clothes that gives a breakdown of facial fractures historically and how it might affect Rajon Rondo. There's a paragraph in it that I find particularly telling:
"Things get more problematic if surgery is warranted. Each of the last nine players to require surgery to fix a facial fracture returned in no fewer than five games. The average number of missed games following these injuries is nearly 13 games. Orlando’s Victor Oladipo was the most recent victim of a facial fracture and he missed the team’s first nine games of the year after suffering an orbital fracture in preseason action."
Then again, here's Yahoo! Sports writer Adrian Wojnarowski giving us the opposite take:
Russell Westbrook won't miss much time with surgery. "If he had a playoff game (Sunday), he could play," league source tells Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) February 28, 2015
We have no way of knowing a true time table, but I have no doubt that Russ won't come back until the time is right for him. We saw Westbrook take the long road to repair his meniscus already, so a silly facial bone certainly won't keep him down for long.