OKC will have to find a way to cope without both Westbrook and Durant…
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has undergone surgery on his fractured right hand and will be re-evaluated in four weeks time.
Westbrook sustained the injury during the defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this week after inadvertently hitting team-mate Kendrick Perkins’ elbow whilst trying to grab a rebound.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti had told the media on Friday that Westbrook was still undecided on whether or not he would undergo surgery, but the decision has now been taken and the team announced that they will re-evaluate the hand in four weeks.
Oklahoma City are currently ravaged by injuries following the loss of reigning league MVP Kevin Durant to a fractured foot, while Jeremy Lamb, Reggie Jackson, Anthony Morrow and Grant Jerrett are all currently sidelined.
However, the franchise is optimistic that both Lamb and Jackson will be able to return to action at some stage this week, although Presti has reiterated that this should be seen as an opportunity for the role players to step up and be counted.
Nevertheless, the Thunder may now apply for a league hardship exception which would allow them to sign an additional player to the roster because at least four players are out with injuries for a minimum of two weeks.
Presti will however be forced to wait before he makes his move as the league rules state that teams can’t apply for the exception until the players have missed at least three games.
That would mean that the Thunder would have to wait until the home opener against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday before they can apply, while they will also be able to apply for a second exception once Westbrook misses a third game.
In the bigger picture, it is certainly not an ideal situation for coach Scott Brooks as he now focuses his attention on keeping the team competitive as they await the return of their star duo in particular.