Following the Thunder's practice on Saturday afternoon -- in which Serge Ibaka didn't participate -- the injured Thunder forward spoke to the media for the first time since going down with a strained calf.
Ibaka hasn't started running or jumping, but has done some light court work and remains hopeful that he'll be healthy enough to give it a go on Sunday night. Here's everything Ibaka had to say:
Q. I think everybody wants to know how the calf is feeling.
Ibaka: Well, day‑to‑day, feeling better every day. Kind of surprised, but I just thank God everything is going differently the way the doctor told me last time. I'm just happy right now.
Q. What did you do while the team was gone and what have you done the last couple of days to try to get game ready?
Ibaka: Just icing, icing, do treatment, do my lift in the gym, just put my mind ready. You never know. I am the kind of guy who I believe in (inaudible) because I believe in God, and when the gym doctor told me I'm going to be out for the rest of the Playoffs, I wasn't believing it because I believe in God. I know I'm here for a reason, and so I want to just keep pushing, keep putting ice, do what I can do, what I can control.
Q. Do you expect to play tomorrow?
Ibaka: Well, right now I'm waiting for the team doctor to confirm, and also it's depending on whether I will go tomorrow, day by day, and see.
Q. In your heart do you feel like you're going to play?
Ibaka: I just told you it's day by day. I cannot say how I feel. I'm waiting what the doctor going to tell me and how my body going to feel. So day by day, let's see how I'm going to wake up tomorrow.
Q. What percentage do you think you would be out there on the floor?
Ibaka: Man, whatever it takes. Whatever it takes. Whatever it takes, my teammate needs for me and somebody to let me go, whatever it takes, I will be there for my teammates.
Q. Is this a matter of dealing with pain or do you have to worry about dealing with additional injury?
Ibaka: I'm going to say pain. Pain. The most important is pain.
Q. So it's going to hurt when you play; it will be painful while you're out there?
Ibaka: Yes, it's 100 percent going to hurt. For sure if the doctor gives me the okay and I feel better tomorrow, I will be 100 percent with the pain for sure, but like I said, I'm going to do whatever it takes to help my team.
Q. Are you concerned about injuring it even more than it already is injured if you do play?
Ibaka: You know, I'm a tough guy, I've been through a lot when I was young. Since I've come here, nothing is for me, so I know it's going to be tough. I understand it's going to be tough, but I will get my mind ready, whatever, like I said, the doctor give me the okay, I'll be ready to go.
Q. Have you tried to jog, run, jump or anything like that to test it?
Ibaka: Well, for now I've just been doing some spot shot because I've got a bruise in my calf right now, so I been doing some spot shot and trying to see, like I said, day by day. Tomorrow morning I'm going to try to do a little extra to see what is going on.
Q. Have you practiced with the team at all?
Ibaka: No, not yet.
Q. How hard has it been to watch, especially the way the first two games went?
Ibaka: It was tough, man. It was tough. One thing I'm going to say, everybody ‑‑ I've been hearing a lot of people saying my team lost two games because I was out. It's not true. It's not true. I believe in my guys. I believe in my teammates, that they can do better, with me or without me. It's not an excuse because Serge Ibaka was not there. It's just that San Antonio the first two games, they played better basketball. We need to give them a lot of credit. Right now our focus, my teammates and I, is about tomorrow's game, and I'm sure with me or without me they're going to do a better job.
Q. When they came back, were you able to give them any advice or just tips on some of the things you saw in the game?
Ibaka: Yes. Yeah, of course. I talked with my teammates and the coaches what I was thinking watching the game at my house. It was a bit tough, but like I say, sometimes you learn when you're off, so I really learned a lot the last game, and I'm ready to see my teammates tomorrow do a better job. I'm sure they're going to do it.
Q. Have you done any running yet?
Ibaka: Not yet. Not yet. Not really. Like I said, spot shot, a little moving to get the feel up because right now I've got a bruise in my calf. Tomorrow I'm going to try to move a little bit more.
Q. You had to see some plays in games where you're like, oh, I'm blocking that. That's not happening.
Ibaka: It was tough. It was tough. Some plays, like you said, exactly, I was spinning or I fall on my TV. But that's happened. It's the past. All my teammates can do is try to learn from the past and try to get better tomorrow.
Here's a Vine of Ibaka walking away from the media scrum, with a sleeve on his injured calf: