Denver will get a lot tougher when — or if — Afflalo plays

BY JOHN ROHDE, Staff Writer, Published: April 18, 2011

OKC point guard Russell Westbrook played one season alongside Afflalo at UCLA.

"He brings defense and toughness," Westbrook said. "He's a tough guy. I've known him for a while. He likes to compete and he can defend as well."

A fourth-year shooting guard, Afflalo was considered one of the league's most improved players this season, averaging 12.6 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.4 assists.

Though Afflalo has earned the Thunder's respect, but he has yet to burn OKC.

In two games against the Thunder this season, Afflalo converted just 3 for 10 from the field while averaging 4.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 32.5 minutes. He missed the final two meetings due to the hamstring.

"The thing is, three times I've done a 10-day period and came back," Afflalo said of the injury. "Obviously, the initial strain was the worst, so coming back after the initial strain was tough. Although that was the one time, I did make it through a full game. The other two times were both nine- to 10-day periods – which is where I'm at now – and I tweaked it."

Afflalo has not ruled out missing the entire series. "The reality is hamstrings take three to four weeks to really heal without the possibility of re-tweaking it," Afflalo said. "But that doesn't mean I can't get out on the court, so I'm going to kind of roll with the series, see how things are looking for us, the position we're in. I will get on the court."

And if he steps onto the court, Sefolosha will be waiting.

John Rohde: 475-3099. John Rohde can be heard Monday-Friday from 6-7 p.m. on The Sports Animal Network, including AM-640 and FM-98.1.

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