Oklahoma City Thunder star Serge Ibaka is reportedly set to undergo knee surgery after struggling with persistent soreness this season.
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It is unclear at this stage as to how long Ibaka will be sidelined for, but it is certainly another blow for OKC who have been decimated by injuries this season.
Ibaka has missed the last two games with the issue, and he is now expected to see a specialist for further evaluation before undergoing a clean-out procedure in order to be ready for the post-season, according to ESPN.
At this stage, the Thunder have not confirmed that he is actually set for surgery, but they did release a statement revealing that he will have a meeting with a specialist in order to obtain a better understanding of the issue and what the best course of action is.
Ibaka’s absence will be another blow for coach Scott Brooks who has already been without Russell Westbrook for 15 games this season while reigning MVP Kevin Durant has sat out 39 games and is expected to be sidelined for another two weeks yet.
In his absence, Westbrook has become a candidate for the MVP award this season, and given the moves that the franchise made before the trade deadline, they certainly have more depth and quality on the roster than last season to deal with their absences.
Ibaka is averaging 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 64 games this season, but the likes of Mitch McGary, Steven Adams and Enes Kanter will continue to fill in and play extended minutes until he returns to action.
While the cover is there for Brooks, Ibaka has proven to be a key part of OKC’s recent success and had emerged as the third option in their own ‘Big Three’.