Russell Westbrook Down And Out: What Now?

***UPDATE***

Russell Westbrook is out for the remainder of the postseason. The Thunder will have to fight through without him. It’s truly a shame for the Thunder and Westbrook who had  a real shot at winning a championship. He and Durant will have to get it next year. #WinforWestbrook. 

Superstar point guard Russell Westbrook will get surgery to repair a torn meniscus he suffered during the 2nd quarter in game 2 of the Thunder’s series against the Houston Rockets. Here’s the play…

Now what’s happening above is Patrick Beverly desperately trying to get Kevin McHale to notice him. He doesn’t play much, he’d been playing hard all game and this was one of those things players do to get their coach to say, “He never stopped playing hard, I like that. He’s getting some more minutes next game.” Usually playing hard is a good thing, but not if you’re doing it recklessly. I’ve honestly gone through a thousand scenarios in my head and there is no way that Beverley would’ve gotten that steal anyway. Westbrook is clearly calling a timeout, just watch his leisurely gallop to Scott Brooks and the rest of the bench. If anything he should’ve been called for a foul, as Beverley clearly reached across Westbrook’s body. But hey, let’s not get mad at Beverley. It wasn’t a dirty play, just unnecessary. He’s a youngster trying to make an impact on the biggest stage. He’s overzealous and that can lead to things like… I don’t know ruining the Thunder’s chances of reaching the Finals… No biggie.

Where does this leave the Thunder? That is the big question right now. He’s out indefinitely but that really doesn’t eliminate him completely from post-season play. If you remember clearly, Chris Bosh was ruled out indefinitely last year due to an abdominal strain he suffered in Game 1 of the Heat’s series against the Pacers in the 2nd round of the playoffs. He came back in Game 5 of the Heat’s series against the Celtics in the Conference Finals. Ultimately, he was only out a total of 22 days. Now I’m not comparing a torn meniscus to an abdominal strain at all, because they’re not similar in the slightest. Bosh didn’t get surgery, Bosh’s injury didn’t prohibit him from running. I’m just saying the diagnosis – “out indefinitely” – sounds a lot scarier than it is. Kind of like hearing you’re going to face the Lakers in the playoffs and then… playing them. His timetable is unknown, although the expected time of return for someone with a torn meniscus is 6 weeks after surgery. There is some hope for Thunder fans in terms of a return though. Just a few weeks ago, Metta World Peace suffered the same injury and underwent surgery. He was seen 12 days later at Staples Center playing against the New Orleans Pelicans. His return was an unbelievably fast return so don’t think Russell can pull it off as well. It’s like saying school isn’t necessary because Mark Zuckerberg dropped out and became a billionaire – he’s the ultimate exception. However, Russell Westbrook is as crazy and may be crazier than MWP and if there’s any guy to come back from an injury like this quickly, it’s going to be him.

I think the Thunder will be fine in their current series against the Rockets. They have a commanding 2-0 lead and the Rockets haven’t shown any signs of a desire to play defense. They may give the Rockets some more room to grab a game, maybe two if god’s feeling good but ultimately they’ll come out on top. The real problem will come in the next round when the Thunder play either the Grizzlies or the Clippers. I predicted the Grizzlies but it could go either way at this point. Both of those teams are true contenders in the West and both boast very well rounded and talented teams with experience. If it were up to me right now, I would take the Thunder out of contention for the NBA championship. Westbrook and Durant are the best duo in the NBA and without Westbrook I don’t think they can compete with teams like the Clippers, Grizzlies and especially the Spurs. The Thunder have never been without Russell Westbrook before as he has never missed a game in his 5 years of professional basketball. So there are no stats nor parameters by which we can judge the Thunder’s future success. Westbrook had been averaging 24 points, 7 assists, 6.5 rebounds and 3 steals a contest in the Thunder’s two games against Houston. So obviously, losing him is a big hit to what they do as a team.

I think, however blunt it may sound, the Thunder’s hopes of a title are over. However, if we want to look on the bright-side of things, and I’m doing this specifically for Thunder fans, we can look at five things:

The Brightside!

#1. Kevin Durant is probably the best offensive specimen in the NBA and was partially held back by Westbrook’s 18.8 shot attempts per game this season. Without Westbrook, Kevin Durant really gets all the shots he could possibly want to potentially score 40 points a game throughout the rest of the playoffs. It’s damn hard to beat a Thunder team with KD scoring 40-50 a game.

#2. Through the month of April, Reggie Jackson was averaging 9.5 points and 2.6 assists on 45% shooting in 21.6 minutes a game. Throughout the playoffs so far, he has averaged 7.5 points and 3.5 assists a game. He’s been playing superbly given the minutes and you can bet he’ll get a spike in that department now. The Thunder fans can find salvation in the fact that Reggie Jackson will be a reliable source at point guard in the place of Westbrook.

#3. The Thunder have home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The fans have the power to control the series for OKC. If they are behind them, they can push their team further than expected.

#4. Russell Westbrook is a psychopath. You can tell from the way he plays on the court and the way he dresses off the court. If there’s any player in the league who has the ability to come back from an injury in the blink of an eye, it’s Russell Westbrook.

#5. Thunder fans now have their own version of #prayforware… It’s called #WinforWestbrook

So with all that in mind, good luck to the Thunder and let’s #WinforWestbrook.

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