The Oklahoma City Thunder announced on Saturday that point guard Russell Westbrook will miss the remainder of the playoffs to recover from a torn lateral meniscus. This marks the second consecutive season in which an explosive point guard has gone down early in the playoffs — Derrick Rose suffered a torn ACL in Game 1 of Chicago’s first round series against Philadelphia in 2012 — and puts a giant wrench in the Thunder’s quest for an NBA Finals rematch with the Miami Heat.
“Although we are of course disappointed that Russell will be unable to return to the floor with his teammates this season, the opportunity to repair the meniscus as opposed to remove it was the best possible scenario for Russell’s long term health as a player and person,” said Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti. “Russell’s health and well being are obviously our number one priority through this process and today’s procedure helped solidify our belief that Russell will have many productive years of basketball in his future.”
Westbrook suffered the injury after colliding with Houston’s Patrick Beverly during Game 2 of the Thunder’s first round series against the Rockets. The play in question has been heavily debated as to whether or not it was a dirty play, but the fact is Westbrook, who has never missed a game in his career — high school, college and pro — is out, and the Thunder will have to make serious adjustments, as they have never had to deal with a Westbrook-less roster in their five-year existence.