Serge Ibaka is expected to miss the remainder of the postseason with a left calf injury, the Oklahoma City Thunder announced Friday.
Ibaka sustained the injury midway through the third quarter of Thursday night’s closeout game against the Los Angeles Clippers. He limped off the floor and did not return to the game.
Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals between the Thunder and San Antonio Spurs is Monday.
“We are obviously disappointed for Serge, as he is a tremendous competitor, and we know how badly he wants to be on the court with his teammates,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti in a statement. “At this point, it is important that our team directs its concentration and energy towards preparation and execution for our upcoming series. As with all teams, our group has confronted different challenges. It is our collective experience that we will call on to ensure that we play to our capabilities.”
Ibaka was enjoying his best postseason of his career, with per game averages of 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.23 blocked shots. He was shooting 61.6 percent from the field.
In the regular season, Ibaka averaged career highs of 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds, while leading the league in total blocked shots for the fourth consecutive season.
Ibaka was expected to be a key player for the Thunder against the Spurs because of his athleticism, shot-blocking, rebounding and shooting ability. He averaged 14 points, 11.5 rebounds and four blocked shots in four games against San Antonio this season.
It’s unclear who will start in Ibaka’s place. Veteran forward Nick Collison replaced Ibaka after the injury occurred.
This is the second straight postseason that the Thunder has had a starter suffer a season-ending injury. Last year, point guard Russell Westbrook sustained a torn lateral meniscus in the first round, an injury that derailed the Thunder’s title hopes.
Team officials did not make Ibaka available to the media after the game Thursday night. Ibaka was said to be “getting treatment” for the injury, and media members were ushered out while being instructed that the locker room was closing.
No players were available to the media Friday because the Thunder did not practice.
The Thunder will resume practice Saturday in Oklahoma City.