We owe the San Antonio Spurs an apology. Before the series started, and the Thunder announced that Serge Ibaka would not play due to his strained calf, the Spurs responded with skepticism. A believe-it-when-we-see-it attitude.
And sure enough, Ibaka didn’t even make the trip to San Antonio. The Spurs looked paranoid.
But now comes word from Thunder headquarters that Ibaka is listed as “day-to-day” and could play in this series. Day-to-day sounds awfully promising considering Game 3 still was 56 hours from tipoff when the press release was issued. Sounds very much like a preemptive volley to prepare for the news that Ibaka indeed will play Sunday night or Tuesday night.
The Thunder has been fairly consistent on injury announcements. If someone will play or might play, the Thunder generally says nothing. If someone won’t play, the Thunder talks. Says so. Saying so on Ibaka was a clear indication that he was indeed out.
But now comes the backpedaling, and there’s no reason to believe anything but the stated reason – dramatic improvement by Ibaka. There would be advantage in proclaiming a doom-and-gloom scenario, only to have to withdraw a few days later.