The Thunder has had two straight postseasons – and a regular season, too – to deal with injuries in the wake of the Derrick Rose mess in Chicago. Rose suffered a torn ACL knee injury in the 2012 playoffs. He missed the entire next season, and the last few weeks of the season, including playoffs, was devoted to wide speculation on whether Rose could play, and if he didn’t, why not? It became a huge issue in Chicago, calling into question Rose’s dedication and commitment. The Bulls were complicit, because they weren’t particularly declarative themselves.
The Thunder has been declarative. Russell Westbrook hurt? He’s out, the Thunder said last spring, and Westbrook most certainly was. Ibaka hurt? He’s out, the Thunder said this spring, and it appears OKC might have jumped the gun. But the Thunder prefers that kind of sheepishness to wide speculation on when Ibaka is returning and why he hasn’t returned yet.