Oklahoma City Thunder: In his absence, Russell Westbrook's value becomes obvious

BY JOHN ROHDE Published: May 24, 2013

“He puts so much pressure on a team it's ridiculous,” center Kendrick Perkins said. “He's the most athletic guy to ever play that position. And what he brings to the table is crazy. I mean, he's a Top-5 player.”

His right leg immobilized in a brace, Westbrook was not able to travel with his team to Houston or Memphis and watched helplessly during home games from a suite at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

“It's tough being up high, I can't really go down on the sidelines and say what I want in huddles and things like that,” Westbrook said. “All I'm thinking about is how I can help. I wish I (could) be playing, but at the same time, I'm kind of sitting back thinking, ‘If we end up losing, what can I do coming into next year that I can learn from watching this situation?' ”

Westbrook said it was particularly difficult not being able to help fellow All-Star Kevin Durant, who constantly was being triple-teamed.

“I felt bad about that part,” Westbrook said. “Me and Kevin have grown so much over the years, creating a bond through our games. Sometimes Kevin will take over the third (quarter). Sometimes it's me. Kevin (would) take over the fourth.” 

Though Westbrook's exact recovery time is still unknown, it's expected he will be able to participate in training camp next October.