Russell Westbrook came as close as he could Sunday to confirming our suspicions.
There's no way he'll be on the shelf through the All-Star break.
Speaking for the first time since undergoing a third surgery to his right knee, Westbrook refused to reveal any clues about when he'll be back in action.
But he was again resolute that team timelines aren't his timelines.
“Yeah, I don't pay no attention to none of those projections, man,” Westbrook said. “I just wake up and try to get better each and every day. That's it.”
The last time Westbrook underwent an unexpected surgery, on Oct. 1, the Thunder announced he would miss the first four-to-six weeks of the regular season. He missed two games.
Upon his return, Westbrook told reporters he didn't know who made up that timetable and added “I never was on that timeline at all.”
Now, everyone from Westbrook to Thunder coach Scott Brooks is again trying to keep quiet about the point guard's recovery.
They talk about Westbrook needing to meet necessary benchmarks but refrain from disclosing what those are while acting as though Westbrook's health isn't currently the most important thing to the franchise.
The truth is Westbrook's progression this time around is beginning to appear ahead of schedule, much like it did before only no one bothered to put together the pieces.
Westbrook shed his crutches within a week of surgery.
Days later, he was spotted on the practice floor shooting free throws.
And on Saturday at Minnesota, he was seen going through light drills before the Thunder beat the Wolves.
Reasons for optimism?
“I'm not sure, man,” Westbrook said. “I just wake up and try to get on the floor as quick as possible, man. I just try to do what's best for my body and just take it day by day.”
Westbrook said he's doing great now and is just “trying to find my way.”
He also put to rest questions of whether he has any concern about maintaining his explosiveness.
“Never,” he said. “Never a doubt.”
Westbrook went on to clear up a few lingering questions about his surgery, perhaps the most significant being why he played in the Christmas Day game at New York despite an MRI days earlier revealing the area of concern that got team and medical personnel's attention.
Westbrook said he underwent an evaluation after the game against the Knicks and the results of that evaluation, not the previous MRI, led to the decision to undergo surgery.
“I wasn't in any pain, and we weren't for sure (something) was going on,” Westbrook said about the MRI that came days before Christmas and his subsequent decision to play in that game. “So I wasn't in no danger of hurting myself or hurting my body or hurting anything else in my knee.”
Thunder general manager Sam Presti had told reporters that before the latest surgery, Westbrook was getting his knee drained to reduce swelling. When asked how often, Westbrook said only “not often.”
Opting to simply rest the knee with the hope swelling would subside, Westbrook said, would not have brought a guaranteed remedy. And so a third surgery was performed, and here we are.
“My knee just kept swelling and swelling so we had to do what's best,” Westbrook said.
“I'm just trying to do what's best for my body and what's best for me in the future.”