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Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek impressed with Russell Westbrook

by Darnell Mayberry Published: November 5, 2013

There are a lot of questions about how Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will come back from two off-season knee surgeries.

Will he be the same player? Will he be as explosive? Will he have as much confidence?

Our first glimpse of Westbrook came earlier than expected, against Phoenix in the Thunder’s  home opener Sunday. And you can count Suns coach Jeff Hornacek among those who came away impressed.

Here’s what Hornacek had to say about Westbrook on Tuesday night before his Suns played at New Orleans.

It doesn’t look like he lost any quickness. There was a couple times that he outran all of our guys. He sprinted up court and had that explosive spring that he’s always had. He’s one of the few guys in the league who can get from the top of the key to the basket in basically what looks like one step. He hurt us.”

Westbrook scored 21 points with four rebounds and seven assists in the Thunder’s 103-96 win over the Suns. He admitted to being rusty and missing shots that he normally makes. But he expressed confidence in his knee and said those routine plays will come.

Following the Thunder’s practice Tuesday, coach Scott Brooks also said Westbrook hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his knee since making his season debut and going through two additional practices.

“He’s fine,” Brooks said. “He’s still obviously doing all the correctives that we have Russell and all of our guys do. But he’s feeling good. He had a good practice today. We didn’t do a whole lot, but we did enough where our guys had to break a sweat. But I think he’s doing fine.”

by Darnell Mayberry
OKC Thunder Senior Reporter
Darnell Mayberry grew up in Langston, Okla. and is now in his third stint in the Sooner state. After a year and a half at Bishop McGuinness High, he finished his prep years in Falls Church, Va., before graduating from Norfolk State University in...
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