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Thunder guard Westbrook out with knee injury

Surgery required for All-Star

Westbrook

– All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook will have surgery to repair cartilage in his right knee and be out indefinitely, dealing a harsh blow to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s championship chances.

General manager Sam Presti said Friday that the Thunder had not yet scheduled Westbrook’s surgery and would not have an accurate timeline for his return until after the procedure was done. No one would rule out Westbrook’s possible return if Oklahoma City keeps advancing in the playoffs, and All-Star teammate Kevin Durant only said his teammates “hope” Westbrook can play again this postseason.

“We’re not trying to rush him or bring him back ahead of schedule. We want to make sure he’s healthy and his knee is right,” Durant said.

The three-time All-Star was hurt in Game 2 of the Thunder’s playoff series against Houston on Wednesday night. Rookie Patrick Beverley lunged for a steal in the second quarter and his hip collided with Westbrook’s knee.

Beverley called Westbrook’s injury “unfortunate” and said Oklahoma City is still dangerous without him.

Coach Scott Brooks claimed after Westbrook missed practice Thursday that Westbrook would be “fine tomorrow,” but the team found out differently Friday morning.

Game 3 is tonight in Houston. Westbrook averaged 24 points and seven assists in the first two games, both won by top-seeded Oklahoma City.

Backup Reggie Jackson figures to move into Westbrook’s starting spot as the only other player with any significant time playing the point. Veteran Derek Fisher has previously played the point, but he has been primarily used as a spot-up three-point shooter in two stints with Oklahoma City.

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