In the aftermath of Russell Westbrook's latest injury setback — arthroscopic knee surgery on Tuesday that will force him to miss the first 4-6 weeks of the season — Thunder general manager Sam Presti actually seemed encouraged.
The recent swelling, which forced the surgery, was the result of a loose stitch, according to Presti, and not complications from the original meniscus repair.
That's great news, agreed Dr. David Geier, an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist from the Medical University of South Carolina. In these kinds of situations, Geier said “the first thing to think about when you have the swelling” is the meniscus not being repaired properly.
In regards to the unique prognosis of a loose stitch causing all the trouble, Geier said “It's not really common, but it absolutely can happen.” Swelling comes from all sorts of issues, said Geier, and in this case it was likely foreign material (loose stitch) that irritated and inflamed the joint.
“I don't think that that implies anything wrong has been done (in the original surgery),” Geier said. “Shouldn't be an enormous setback, actually.”
BEVERLEY, HARDEN COMMENT ON THE WESTBROOK NEWS
For Thunder fans these days, the only thing more unpopular than that renegade stitch plucked from Westbrook's right knee is the guy who accidentally caused it to be there.
Patrick Beverley, the Rockets' high-energy backup point guard, submarined Westbrook during Game 2 of the first round last April. Beverley was going for a steal as the Thunder star called timeout, but instead tearing Westbrook's meniscus when he bumped into him awkwardly.
Beverley was booed loudly before and during Game 5 of the Thunder-Rockets series last year. And he should probably expect more thunderous jeers every time he visits OKC for the foreseeable future.
But for Beverley's part, he's handled it well, wishing Westbrook well last April and reiterating his confidence and respect for the Thunder guard on Tuesday.
“He's a great athlete,” Beverley told the Houston Chronicle at. “I know he has the best doctors. I think he's going to be fine.”
Rockets star James Harden, Westbrook's longtime friend and former teammate, was also asked his thoughts on the situation.
“Just from growing up with him, I know how strong he is and how much he loves the game of basketball,” Harden told the Houston Chronicle. “He'll bounce back. He'll be back as soon as possible. It was his first time missing games at any level was last season in the playoffs. I know he'll bounce back strong and be back better than ever.”
THUNDER PREPARES FOR OVERSEAS TRIP
As Westbrook prepares for the early stages of another rehabilitation process, his team will be halfway across the world.
The Thunder is set to leave for Turkey on Wednesday afternoon, scheduled for a 13-hour flight that'll place them in Istanbul by midday Thursday, when accounting for the 8-hour time difference.
OKC plays Turkish basketball power Fenerbahce Ulker on Saturday at 8 a.m. central time, before traveling to Manchester, England, for a game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Both games will air on NBATV.
“(Istanbul is a) beautiful city,” Durant said. “I'm excited to get over there and bond with my teammates a little bit, especially the newer guys we have. Just build that camaraderie up.”
Kevin Durant on the Westbrook news: “"I'm gonna call him after practice today and check in on him. That's my guy, I love him and I'm glad it was a successful surgery."