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OKC Thunder: Why this is one injury Russell Westbrook can't play through

RUSSELL WESTBROOK — Instead of trying to play “on one leg,” the Thunder's point guard is playing a new role this post-season: observer.
by Darnell Mayberry Modified: May 9, 2013 at 6:29 pm •  Published: May 9, 2013

Westbrook has watched home games from a suite inside Chesapeake Energy Arena, a location that is more conducive than the team's bench to allowing him room to spread out and stretch his leg. He also continues to attend practices when the team is at home. Westbrook said he still isn't sure when he might be able to sit on the bench or travel to away games. But along with rehabbing, Westbrook said his primary focus is helping the team in any way possible.

“As a point guard and a leader of this team my job is to find a way where I can help my teammates, the coaching staff and the organization,” Westbrook said. “They've been a big supporter of me. And my job is to give it back. Help them out as much as I can and give my input.”

Westbrook said being forced to watch has given him a different perspective. For the first time in his career, he's now able to study the game from as an onlooker and see things he might not have been able to recognize in the heat of battle.

“I may sit out for a few minutes here and there. But to kind of sit back and watch a whole game when I'm not playing is different,” Westbrook said. “This is my first time doing it, and it's something that can help me; to see some of the things that maybe you guys see or somebody may see. The crazy shots I shoot or the time and possession (laughs), you can kind of see different things. So I think it's good for me.”

In spite of the setback, Westbrook seemed to be in good spirits.

He had a peace to him as he spoke with extreme confidence about his ability to return better than ever and expressed every bit as much faith in the team's championship chances without him.

“We have a tough group of guys,” Westbrook said. “We're finding a way to win games. The group of guys we have, I think we have enough to get a ring. I honestly think we've been together long enough to be able to figure things out when guys go down. You can see that.”