By Randy Renner
Thunder power forward and possible series savior Serge Ibaka walked over to a massive media scrum after his team’s Saturday practice without the aid of a walking boot or a helping hand from his Thunder media relations escort.
But listening to Ibaka, it’s clear he believes there’s an unseen hand guiding him through what has become an unexpectedly speedy recovery from what was believed to be a season-ending injury.
“I believe in miracles because I believe in God,” he said and because of that belief he couldn’t let the original prognosis stand without a fight.
“When the team doctor told me I’m gonna be out for the rest of the playoff, I wasn’t believe it because I believe in God and I know I’m here for a reason, so I’m gonna just keep pushing and do what I can do.”
Ibaka is willing and ready to push things as far as he can possibly push them.
“Whatever it take, whatever it take. If my teammate needs me and if my body let me go, whatever it take I will be there for my teammates.”
It’s clear his teammates need him in what is more than likely a must-win game for the Thunder in a series that just two games in may already be circling the drain.
Ibaka admitted he’s not sure if he’ll be able to play in Sunday’s critical Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs, “it depends how I’m gonna wake up tomorrow, it’s day-by-day.” And he added he hasn’t yet rejoined practice and that swelling that was such a problem when the injury first occurred hasn’t completely subsided.
“I’ve got a lot of blood in my calf right now, so I’m just moving around a little and (Sunday morning) I’m gonna try do a little extra.”
At least it’s possible now. At least there is hope he will be able to return.
“I’m kinda surprised and I just thank God everything is going differently from the way the doctor told me last time so I’m just happy right now.”
Ibaka knows that if he is able to make it, he won’t be 100 percent but he is 100 percent sure of one thing, “it’s gonna hurt, I will not be 100 percent (healthy) with the pain that’s for sure but I’m gonna do whatever it take to help my team.”
Ibaka does not think he’s the be-all, end-all answer to the Thunder’s problems against the Spurs and even if he can’t go tomorrow he has confidence the Thunder will be better.
“I believe in my guys, I believe in my teammates they can do better, with me, without me, is no excuse because Serge Ibaka was not there. It’s just because the San Antonio in the first two games they play better basketball man, we need give them a lot of credit. Now we are focused on (Sunday’s) game and I’m sure, with me or without me they gonna do a better job.”
Playing or not playing Ibaka will be in the arena on Sunday, he didn’t enjoy having to watch two frustrating losses on television.
“It was tough, I was screaming in front of my TV but, that’s the past all you can do is to learn from the past and try to get better.”
As to his future, Ibaka was asked if he’s concerned about making his injury even worse should he try to play through the pain and the problems of a left leg that isn’t quite right.
He thought for just a moment, then dismissed the notion.
“I’m tough guy, you know, I’ve been through a lot when I was young and since I come here nothing was easy for me so I know it gonna be tough. I will just put my mind ready and if the doctor give me the okay, I will be ready to go.”