NBA superstar still recovering from knee injury as training camp opens.
Oklahoma City Thunder general manager Sam Presti said star guard Russell Westbrook is on track to return from his knee injury but says he won’t be an active player in the team’s training camp which opens this weekend.
Westbrook has been sidelined with a torn lateral meniscus which he suffered when he collided with Houston’s Patrick Beverley during their first-round playoff series in April.
Presti said he would not be pushed on naming a date when Westbrook will be back in the Thunder line-up but did not rule out that he wouldn’t play in the season opener against Utah on October 30.
“I wouldn’t say that he will be (ready) and I wouldn’t say that he won’t be,” Presti said. “We’ve got to see how the next month goes.”
He’s on pace, to this point, in the recovery process, but we’re not going to put a specific timetable on his return, simply because it’s just too big of a decision,” Presti said.
“His health is most important, not just for this season, but for many years to come. He’s done an excellent job in showing unbelievable discipline and rigor through the process. We expect him to come back at full strength, but he’s got to finish the rest of the benchmarks.”
Westbrook has had no unexpected setbacks while rehabilitating the knee.
“When you’re dealing with rehabilitation, it’s a day-by-day thing, because you’re constantly retraining the body to do things that it has not done for a while.”
Without Westbrook, the top-seeded Thunder beat the Rockets in six games but lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in five games in the Western Conference semifinals.
Other than the draft, the Thunder made few roster moves during the offseason, trading guard Kevin Martin to the Minnesota Timberwolves and signing free-agent forward Ryan Gomes.
The Thunder also released guard DeAndre Liggins after he was arrested August 31 and charged with two counts of kidnapping, two counts of domestic assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, three counts of domestic abuse in the presence of a minor and one count of violating a protective order.
He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.