The Oklahoma City Thunder will open camp next week with former Kia MVP Russell Westbrook on the mend from the arthroscopic surgery he had on his left knee a little more than a week ago.
As the Thunder hope for a solid season and deep playoff run in 2018-19, OKC general manager Sam Presti told reporters today the team will not rush Westbrook back into the lineup. Westbrook is scheduled to have his knee injury re-evaluated in a few more weeks, which Presti said the team is waiting for before deciding anything else about their star.
“We’d never push Russell or any player onto the floor. It was a pretty minor thing he had done. We’ll see how that re-evaluation goes," Presti said.
Sam Presti says the team has never pushed a player to hit a specific date in recovering from injury, and won’t start now by rushing Russell Westbrook to be ready for game one.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) September 20, 2018
Presti on Russell Westbrook surgery/return: “We’d never push Russell or any player onto the floor. It was a pretty minor thing he had done. We’ll see how that reevaluation goes.”— Erik Horne (@ErikkHorne) September 20, 2018
A re-evaluation of Westbrook's status four weeks since his surgery would be around Oct. 10. That would be six days away from OKC's regular-season opener at the Golden State Warriors (10:30 ET, TNT).
While the Thunder wait for Westbrook to recover from his injury, they received good news on another player coming back from injury. Guard Andre Roberson missed the final two months of the season and the 2018 playoffs with a ruptured patella tendon in his left knee. In July, the Thunder were hoping Roberson would be on track to return to training camp and that seems to be the pace Roberson is on.
Roberson will go through parts of training camp, Presti said, and will participate in some non-contact drills. “We don’t think we’re going to be without him very long,” Presti said. However, it did not sound like Roberson will be ready to play on opening night.
Presti added that Roberson is doing a lot more this week than he was a week ago and is through the hardest part of his recovery process. The 6-foot-7 Roberson was an All-Defense second-team selection in 2016-17. In 39 games last season, he averaged 5.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.1 steals per game.
Sam Presti says Andre Roberson will go through parts of training camp, primarily non-contact. “We don’t think we’re going to be without him very long,” Presti says. Doesn’t sound like he’ll be ready to go on opening night.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) September 20, 2018
Presti said Roberson is doing a lot more this week than he was last week and is through the hardest part of his recovery process.— Erik Horne (@ErikkHorne) September 20, 2018
Overall, Presti said he expects both Roberson and Westbrook to be back in the early part of the season. And, in a bit of personal news, Presti announced he and his wife had twin girls last night.
Sam Presti announces that he and his wife Shannon welcomed twin girls last night. Names are Millie and Elise, joining their three and a half year old, Nicholas.— Royce Young (@royceyoung) September 20, 2018
The Thunder were active in the offseason, parting ways with Carmelo Anthony in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks that netted them Dennis Schroder. Additionally, they re-signed All-Star swingman Paul George and defensive-minded forward Jerami Grant while also picking up Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, Abdel Nader and Nerlens Noel in other transactions.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.