Oklahoma City Thunder: Serge Ibaka's recovery process likely not the norm

On the day he announced that Serge Ibaka might be able to play after all in the Western Conference Finals, might be able to help the Thunder against the Spurs, maybe Presti was feeling like a lot of Thunder fans. Maybe he was a little giddy.
by Jenni Carlson Published: May 23, 2014

Sam Presti isn’t a comedian. Far from it.

Even his funny bone is dead serious.

But on the day he announced that Serge Ibaka might be able to play after all in the Western Conference Finals, might be able to help the Thunder against the Spurs, maybe Presti was feeling like a lot of Thunder fans. Maybe he was a little giddy.

How else to explain the Thunder general manager’s answer to a question about the treatment that Ibaka has been receiving for a strained calf?

“Nothing different than what normal people would do, I think.”

Bahahaha.

Wait, I think he was being serious.

And if he was, we’re supposed to believe that the Thunder treated Ibaka’s strained calf the same way, say, I would treat a strained calf. I’m pretty much a normal person, regardless of what some people might lead you to believe.

And what do normal people do after they hurt themselves?

Google it up.

I typed in “treatment for a strained calf muscle”, and the first option was an entry about strained muscles on WebMD.com. A fairly reputable site, from what I know, and it said that the most important thing with strained muscles is the PRICE formula — protection, rest, ice, compression, elevation.

First, you have to protect the muscle from further injury. For me, that’d mean going to the house, sitting on the couch and making sure the kiddo didn’t jump on me.

For Serge, it’s possible Navy Seals were involved with his security detail.

Either that or copious amounts of bubble wrap.

Next up is rest. Serge sat out Game 1 and 2 of the Western Conference Finals. Isn’t that how normal people rest after a muscle strain?

Ice is the third part of treatment. In my house, we’ve been known to use bags of frozen peas to ice muscles. In a pinch, we’ll even use frozen edamame.

I assume Serge hasn’t been icing his calf with frozen vegetables or legumes. It’s way more likely that the Thunder flew in blocks cut from the Antarctic ice sheet.

Compression is the fourth step to rehabilitating a strained muscle. This is where Ibaka’s treatment could really go high tech and even a bit sci-fi.

Compression for normal people comes from an Ace bandage. Snug and supportive, but not too tight. But we’ve already seen evidence that the Thunder does compression a bit differently.

A couple years ago in the lockout-shortened season, there were lots of games in a short amount of time. Muscles tired much quicker and much worse, and adding the playoffs into the mix only added to that fatigue.

To combat it, the Thunder gave players compression pants. They looked like full-length leggings, and they were meant to be worn off the court as much as possible. Guys put them on after games, then wore their street clothes over them.

How much it helped is anyone’s guess, but it sure didn’t hurt — the Thunder went to the NBA Finals.


by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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