Bad news arrived Friday morning for Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook, but the biggest news has yet to come.
The three-time All-Star is sidelined indefinitely after suffering a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee Wednesday night during Game 2 of his team’s playoff series against the Houston Rockets.
The Thunder did not have a specific timetable for Westbrook’s return and announced surgery would take place “in the coming days.”
The biggest news will come when surgery is performed and doctors are able to determine whether the meniscus is slightly torn, or in need of repair.
Although the Thunder’s official release said Westbrook will undergo surgery to repair the tear, Dr. David Geier of the Medical University of South Carolina said Westbrook’s recovery time could be as little as 10-14 days with a slight tear that requires a “trim.”
Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace suffered a meniscus tear to his left knee one month ago and returned 12 days after surgery.
If the meniscus is torn, doctors could have to sew the tear back together and recovery time would take several months.
Geier said Westbrook’s doctors at this point “probably don’t know” the extent of the injury.
“The MRI is notoriously bad at predicting one or the other,” said Geier, an orthopedic surgeon and director of MUSC Sports Medicine in Charleston. He has served as orthopedic consultant for the U.S. women’s soccer team.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin recalled he was able to return six days after surgery on his meniscus while playing collegiately at Oklahoma, but his did not have to be repaired.
“As long as you’re not repairing, you can come back pretty quickly,” Griffin said. “But you’re a step slow. It takes a little bit to get that feeling back and to get the swelling completely out and all that.”