Russell Westbrook’s Injury Worse Than First Believed?
The circumstances surrounding Russell Westbrook’s injury are odd. At this point, him missing the entirety of his team’s series against the Oklahoma City Thunder does not seem unfeasible.
Coming out of Tuesday’s 123-105 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, everything seemed fine. Westbrook did not appear to have any problems during or right after the outing, and he was scheduled to take part in the Houston Rockets’ Friday night battle with the Philadelphia 76ers.
There was no talk of him missing any practices or next week’s playoff games.
That all changed on Wednesday. Apparently, Westbrook woke up sore and the team decided to have him undergo an MRI. The results revealed a strained quadriceps muscle.
Now he is out for Friday and the Rockets are indicating that he will miss at least the first handful of postseason games next week. There is also chatter within the organization that he may end up being out even longer than that.
These can be a difficult injury, especially for a player like Westbrook who performs with such force. Clearly, Westbrook is a unique individual with a proven capacity to play through physical adversity. In Bubble playoffs, less time between games — essentially every other day. https://t.co/9lsPlMyD4w
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 13, 2020
Russell Westbrook Has Been Dealing With Quad Issues
After Houston’s 110-102 defeat at the hands of the Portland Trail Blazers back on August 4, it was clear that something with Westbrook wasn’t right. He missed seven free throws and failed to score at least 20 points for the first time in 37 outings.
Surely enough, after the fact, it was revealed that he suffered a right quadriceps contusion.
Westbrook ended up missing Houston’s August 6 showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers, which they won 113-97, and August 9 game versus the Sacramento Kings, which they won 129-112.
The 31-year-old returned to the lineup on August 11 against the Spurs, putting up 20 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds in 27 minutes.
Up until news of him missing games emerged, there was no sign that this was even a possibility.
Where Does This Leave Houston?
The Rockets will take on the Thunder in the first round of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs. That match-up is set.
Theoretically, a full-strength Houston team would have the upper hand over Oklahoma City. But the Thunder have been sneaky good this year, prevailing in situations where everyone feels like they should lose.
Westbrook being out could be precisely what Chris Paul and Co. need to take advantage and pull off the upset.
On the year, Westbrook is averaging 27.2 points per outing on 47.2 shooting from the field. His shooting percentage is the best it has ever been.
Fortunately for Houston, the team is battle-tested. As one of the West’s elite squads over the past few years, the Rockets should have a mental edge over an inexperienced bunch in the Thunder.
That said, Mike D’Antoni’s group will need Westbrook back sooner rather than later. And at the moment, it doesn’t sound like they know when exactly they will be getting him back.
“We’ll see how he responds,” D’Antoni said on Wednesday night.
“We’ll just see next week.”
D’Antoni on Westbrook: “We’ll re-evaluate (quad)in a couple of days. He’s not gonna play Friday-I don’t think he aggravated it.During the game & after the game he was fine.Woke up the next day he was kind of sore. They’re checking it out & making sure it can respond to treatment”
— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) August 12, 2020
The winner of Rockets-Thunder will ultimately play the winner of the No. 1 vs. No. 8 first round series between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers, Phoenix Suns, Memphis Grizzlies or Spurs in the Western Conference semifinals.