Here’s the full transcript from Sam Presti’s media availability Friday in Oklahoma City:
SAM PRESTI: Well, first just want to thank everybody for coming this morning. Obviously we put out a press release a little earlier today, upgrading Serge's status from being ruled out to day‑to‑day. Obviously we're really pleased with the progress that he's made. We're excited for him. We know how hard he has worked in a short amount of time to give himself every opportunity to improve.
At the same time we're surprised that we're here, although grateful that he's made enough progress for us to say that he's not ruled out. I think it's important when you look at this to recognize that we're not saying that he's playing, but we're really trying to indicate that the information is telling us that we can't rule him out, and part of that is due in part, as I said earlier, because he's been incredibly compliant with the program that's been put in place. Our staff has done an excellent job. They try to take advantage of every opportunity to give him an opportunity to improve.
And a big part of this, as well, is just the fact that the swelling in his calf has reduced incredibly rapidly, more so than any of us could have expected or our medical staff could have projected, and as a result of that, he's demonstrating a function level, stability level that's better than we thought where we would be.
At this point in time, what I can tell you is he's not going through practice. He's not going through contact. He's doing some light drills. He's doing some light shooting. He's not having setbacks at this stage.
So we really ‑‑ in our best efforts, are trying to pass along the information that we have at our disposal given that exchange a little bit. With that I'd take any questions.
Q. Can you talk about the last few days and just how the progress has been to get you guys to this point?
A: Sure. Again, when these things happen, there's a program that gets put in place. Serge is probably one of, if not our most compliant and most diligent workers in that respect. Anyone that's been around him for his duration here knows the way he works.
But I also think any time you're dealing with professional athletes or human beings in general, everybody reacts and heals differently. We accept that as part of sports medicine. It's a difficult part of what we're doing. In this case we're really happy about the fact that he's obviously quick in this case to recover.
But I want to keep stressing, it doesn't necessarily mean that he's practicing with the team and that this is important to us that we're providing the information, because what we can't do is we can't rule him out, and what we're trying to do is provide the information because it's different than what we had initially been working with.
So a day ago, two days ago, did you get a sense that he might get to this point?
We knew that the swelling was decreasing, which was allowing for our clinicians and our medical staff to get a better understanding of the injury and the function that it was allowing him to perform. That wasn't the case certainly recently. But we're at the point now, as he goes through his tests and hits benchmarks that we have in place, he's showing enough progress to shift him from out to day‑to‑day. It's really a step‑by‑step process. Each day he'll do what he can, and we'll monitor it from there and we'll do our best to keep people updated when there is a significant change.
What specifically do you need to see for him to get to the point where he can play?
You know, that's, again, a real delicate spot for me just because medically I'm just not trained to answer those types of questions. We have a medical staff that handles that 24 hours a day, puts those things in place. Obviously I get updated on it, and based on where we are now, we thought the right thing to do was to provide the information that we have because we can't rule him out.
Would you categorize him as a longshot or even a possibility for Sunday?
The best way for me to answer that question is to say that we can't rule him out. His progress in the last several days has been surprising. I don't think any of us thought we'd be standing here talking about this. We're grateful that we are, but that doesn't necessarily mean that we're going to have him back, but we also can't definitively say he's going to miss the entire postseason, either.
Is it about how much pain or discomfort he can play through?
I think dealing with the swelling, and I can't put myself in Serge's shoes, but this is really just going to be a medical decision. I think we know how competitive he is, but we also understand that that's why we have these protocols and practices in place. That's why we have the imaging that we have. And with all the information compiled, I have complete trust in our medical staff to make the best decision and put him in a position to be successful.
But I think he's working as diligently as he possibly can, and that's not a surprise.
From what you've seen in practice, how has he looked, or at least in the light shooting?
Well, again, one thing that I try not to do is pretend I have a medical degree. When you're watching players or evaluating. That's why we have the staff that we have, and we're going to allow them to give us the information that's necessary to make that decision.
You talk about the protocol that you have that he's going through. Can you give us a little insight into some of the things that that involves?
Yeah, I'll do my best. I think primarily it's getting to the point where he's being put in game‑like conditions when he's capable of that to replicate those situations on the floor. Obviously his conditioning is another aspect because he has not done hardly anything recently other than some low‑impact training.
In most of his recovery, as I said earlier, is based on the fact that the swelling is starting to decrease a little bit. He had an excessive amount of swelling in Los Angeles that night, and when that starts to clear, I think you get a better understanding as to what the injury is really presenting and what the limitations are functionally and how much of that was due to the swelling and how much of that is due to the isolated area in which he suffered the injury.
He'll go through ‑‑ I'm sorry, I'm not answering your question directly, but he'll go through a battery of tests such as game‑like conditions, conditioning, and a lot of that is how he feels the following morning and what he's able to tolerate.
Are there things in treatment that ‑‑ is it a rest thing? Can you do things in trying to treat that and reduce the swelling that you've done?
You know, I think, again, nothing different than what normal people would do, I think. One thing we just can't underscore enough, and I try to say this as much as I can when we're talking about these things, is one, everybody is different. Everybody reacts differently to different injuries. The locations, the science of a centimeter or less of where these things take place, that all factors in, and then I think we also have to recognize that not only are people different but you're talking about a 24‑, 25‑year‑old professional athlete that's incredibly highly conditioned and has been for the majority of his adult life, and sometimes those things can contribute. But if we could give you specifics all the time, we would. But we're learning on these things, as well, because sports medicine is something that is hard to grasp at times.
We've heard that with this type of injury the chance of reinjury is one of the biggest concerns. Are you thinking maybe that's less now as you find out more about what the specific deal is with Serge?
Well, I think with any player that has an injury of any variety, you're always going to be concerned with that. That's one of the first things that you think about, and that's why you go through these steps I would say to try and get a better handle on that. And as we talked about earlier, understanding the function or functionality of the athlete is critical, and we're going to do everything we can as we learn more to put him in position to be successful and guard against that. Of course we can only control what we can control, and that's why we layer the processes with as many different checks and balances as possible. He's made enough progress for us to adjust the status. The alternative would be to ignore his progress on the account of the fact that we initially thought it would be a longer duration. We're choosing not to do that. We're trying to honor the assessment, honor the clinicians, honor the way that the athlete is presenting himself physically, with the understanding that that's the information that we have at our disposal.
If there's more on that, we'll update you. Obviously it would be convenient for us to not provide the information and if he were ever healthy enough to play in a game, to release that an hour before the game, but in this case, we don't think that that was the way to handle it because previously we had deemed him out, and we can't deem him out, so therefore we are making this announcement.
If you decide to bring him back, could it be in like a smaller capacity, 12 minutes, little spurts, or could you play him as a starter?
I think the fact that I have never even considered that question tells you kind of where we are. I would have no way to be able to answer that.
What I can tell you is he's done some light shooting. He's done a little lateral movement and some low‑impact or no‑impact conditioning work. Beyond that, it would be really outside of my realm to try to speculate on that, as much as ‑‑ I don't even wish I could. It's just kind of where we are. The information that we've been working with, he's exceeded that. We're excited about that. We're a little surprised by it, but you know, he does a lot of things at a level that are not normal, and in this case he's improving, and we can't rule him out, so we have to honor what we're seeing and be consistent with what he's presenting functionally.