Report: Thunder "Optimistic" For Westbrook Return Thursday

Yet another report has come out that Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will be back on the floor for Thursday night's home game against the Heat.

But just like all the others, there is nothing really solid there.

Mark J. Spears, who writes for Yahoo! Sports, posted the story late last night. Spears has excellent sources around the NBA and he wrote that Thunder officials are "optimistic" that Westbrook will make his return from his third knee surgery against the Heat.

Of course Thunder officials have always been optimistic that would happen. The timeline team officials mentioned after Westbrook's December 26th procedure was that he should be back after the All-Star break.

Thursday's game against Miami is the first game after the break and has long been mentioned as a possible target date. Spears also notes that Westbrook will be reevaluated on Tuesday by the Thunder medical staff.

This has also been done regularly and staff members monitor Westbrook's progress during every workout. Those workouts have become more intense lately, especially the one I watched last Sunday morning before the Knicks game at The Peake.

Westbrook may very well have been close to hitting all his benchmarks that day. If the full medical evaluation on Tuesday shows nothing has gone backwards then Russ may very well be back on Thursday.

The timing would work well. The Thunder are scheduled to practice on Tuesday, though that could be put off till Wednesday if head coach Scott Brooks wants to give guys who participated in All-Star Weekend activities an extra day off.

Either way it would give Westbrook a chance to get at least one full practice and maybe two, along with a shootaround, under his belt before the Heat game.

It's also of course a huge game with a lot of national attention. The game will be nationally televised by TNT and media from around the world are expected to attend.

So the stage will be set and perhaps Tuesday or Wednesday we'll know the answer to the big question, will Thunder leading man Kevin Durant be joined on that stage by his co-star?