HOUSTON, TX (Sporting Alert) — The Oklahoma City Thunder has been dealt a massive blow in their push for the NBA title this season, following the news that All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery on his knee Saturday.
Event: Oklahoma City at Houston
Game Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV Channels: ESPN, Fox Sports Oklahoma and Comcast SportsNet Houston
Live Online: WatchESPN.com and ESPN3.com
Westbrook picked up his injury during Game 2 of the NBA playoff first round clash against the Houston Rockets when rookie Patrick Beverley collided into his knee, while trying to steal the ball in the second quarter of the game.
The Thunder said Westbrook’s surgery was successful and was done to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.
“Although we are of course disappointed that Russell will be unable to return to the floor with his teammates this season, the opportunity to repair the meniscus as opposed to remove it was the best possible scenario for Russell’s long term health as a player and person,” Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti said on the team’s website.
“Russell’s health and well being are obviously our number one priority through this process and today’s procedure helped solidify our belief that Russell will have many productive years of basketball in his future.”
No timetable has been announced for Westbrook’s return, but the Thunder hope he will be able to return early in the offseason.
Meanwhile, Thunder coach Scott Brooks confirmed that Reggie Jackson would start in Game 3 on Saturday for Westbrook, who was missing his first game in his exciting career.
Jackson will join Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Durant, Serge Ibaka and Kendrik Perkins in the Thunder starting lineup.
Durant has called on his teammates to rally in Westbrook’s absence.
“We’re not trying to rush him or bring him back ahead of schedule,” Durant told reporters.
“We want to make sure he’s healthy and his knee is right.
“That’s our only concern with it right now. All he has to worry about is him getting healthy.”
Oklahoma City leads the seven game series 2-0.
James Harden and the Houston Rockets came very close to stealing Game 2 on Wednesday night but the Thunder fought hard to secure a 105-102 win.
Houston, in the meantime, Jeremy Lin, who was questionable for the game says he is feeling much better and will start for Houston.
Lin suffered a chest contusion in the second quarter of Wednesday night’s defeat and was doubtful, but will start tonight.
“I’m feeling better,” Lin said.
He joins James Harden, Patrick Beverley, Chandler Parsons and Omer Asik in the starting lineup.