By Randy Renner
Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook told reporters after his team’s practice today, “I feel great,” putting to rest any fears of problems after banging knees with Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry Friday night.
“I actually felt great after the game, but we had to make sure that everything was good.”
Westbrook had an MRI and a full clinical examination of his right knee yesterday in Oklahoma City and no areas of concern were detected. After the collision with Lowry, Westbrook grimaced in pain and slammed the basketball down on the court. He was helped to the Thunder lockerroom by team trainer Joe Sharpe and backup center Hasheem Thabeet and did not return to the game, a contest the Thunder eventually won in double-overtime 119-118.
“When I saw him smack the ball, I was like oh God,” said Thunder guard Caron Butler, “and then we all said a prayer in our heads, along with the whole state of Oklahoma and our prayers were answered.”
Replays appeared to show Westbrook’s right knee (the same one that has endured three surgeries) bend at an unusual angle so Thunder fans feared the worst and after seeing a replay himself Westbrook admitted things didn’t look good.
“Lookin’ at the video it just looks, it looks weird, but it’s not as bad as you think. I wasn’t really worried about it. It’s just a light sprain and I’ll be alright.”
Westbrook vows to continue playing at his usual extreme level going forward.
“I mean I can’t play cautious, you can’t be timid, you just gotta play and be confidant in what you’re doing,” he said this afternoon.
Westbrook has no additional restrictions. He will continue to be held out of one game of back-to-back sets and his minutes will continue to be limited to around 30 per game.
As to whether he’ll play Monday night at home against Denver or Tuesday night on the road at Dallas Thunder head coach Scott Brooks had a familiar answer for reporters today.
“I will let you know at the appropriate time when he will play,” Brooks said. “When he went down it was obviously a concern. I’m just glad everything turned out well.”
More than likely the Thunder will rest Westbrook tomorrow night against a Denver team that now has four players out of the season with injuries. He would then probably play Tuesday night in Dallas.