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OKC Thunder: Is there any chance Serge Ibaka returns in these playoffs?

by Anthony Slater Published: May 20, 2014


photo - Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) leaves the floor after Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, May 11, 2014. The Clippers won 101-99. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma City's Serge Ibaka (9) leaves the floor after Game 4 of the Western Conference semifinals in the NBA playoffs between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, May 11, 2014. The Clippers won 101-99. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Typically, a Grade 2 calf strain knocks a player out for 4-6 weeks. On Feb. 28, Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha sustained one. He sat out 17 games, finally returning on April 8, 39 days later.

“Maybe a few days,” Sefolosha said when asked if he could have rushed it back for a desperate situation. “But not that much before.”

Ibaka sustained the injury on May 15. Four weeks later — or 28 days — would set up an aggressive return date of June 12. The NBA Finals begin on June 5. It’d be in the middle of the series.

And maybe Ibaka aims even earlier. He’s an extremely hard worker, dedicated to his craft and committed to his team. And Ibaka is clearly mulling it, picking Sefolosha’s brain about the recovery process from the injury.

“He asked me how much time it took and when did I feel comfortable coming back,” Sefolosha said. “But I think everybody’s different and with that injury, it’s just a matter of how you feel. So I can’t really speak on how he’s going to feel in a week from now, two weeks from now, three weeks from now.”

No one does. Not even Ibaka. In his first five years in the NBA, this is his first serious injury. So it’s a wait-and-see process.

And despite hope that he’ll be a quick healer, Ibaka doesn’t sound like a realistic option unless the Thunder get by the Spurs.

“It’s too early to even say anything (about returning),” Sefolosha said.

But if the Thunder can extend its season, it’s not out of the question.

by Anthony Slater
Thunder Beat Writer
Anthony Slater started on the Thunder beat in the summer of 2013, joining after two years as NewsOK.com's lead sports blogger and web editor. A native Californian, Slater attended Sonoma State for two years before transferring to Oklahoma State in...
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