Thunder notebook: Orthopedic surgeon weighs in on Russell Westbrook setback

The recent swelling, which forced the surgery, was the result of a loose stitch and not complications from the original meniscus repair.
by Anthony Slater Published: October 1, 2013

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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.”


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.

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