Ibaka insists that he is “not feeling worse” after making influential comeback.
Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka is expected to play in Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday night.
The Spaniard was initially ruled out for the remainder of the post-season by the Thunder after suffering a calf strain in the series-clinching win over the Los Angeles Clippers last week.
However, he made a miraculous recovery to play in Game 3, with his 15 points and general defensive prowess helping Oklahoma City half their deficit to trail 2-1 in the series against the Spurs.
“The good news is I’m not feeling worse, so that’s good,” Ibaka said, as reported by ESPN.
“I’m sure every day I’m going to feel better every day, but I’m not expecting to feel much better yet tomorrow. One thing I know, I expect to do a better job.”
Despite battling through the pain and visibly limping on numerous occasions during the game, Ibaka made his presence felt inside the paint and was also an emotional boost for the entire franchise after they were crushed in the first two games.
The Spurs were held to just 39.6 percent shooting last time out, and after averaging 60 points in the paint after the first two games, shooting 76.8 percent, they scored just 40 in the paint in Game 3 and shot just 50 percent in the restricted area.
The Thunder will now hope to build on that momentum and tie the series before it switches back to San Antonio for Game 5 on Thursday night, and Ibaka has promised that he will improve and do more for the team as he continues to work on his conditioning.