The Oklahoma City Thunder are expected to be one of the top teams in the Western Conference this coming season.
However, the team is battling multiple injuries as the regular season gets set to begin on Tuesday. Right now, the Thunder are currently listing Russell Westbrook as out for the team’s season opener against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday.
As if Westbrook potentially being out isn’t bad enough, center Steven Adams is dealing with lower back stiffness and is listed as questionable for the game. Adams did play in the team’s final preseason game on Oct. 9 against the Milwaukee Bucks and scored 5 points on 2-of-4 shooting and secured five rebounds in 16 minutes in that contest.
Westbrook had originally experienced stiffness in his right knee, which lead to the team electing for him to have the surgery. If the former NBA MVP had waited to have the procedure done following the 2018-19 campaign, it could’ve been something that potentially lingered all season. Last week, head coach Billy Donovan revealed that Westbrook was progressing along, but Oklahoma City was monitoring Westbrook in “controlled situations.” Following the surgery in September, Westbrook was given a timetable of a four-week recovery period and he would be re-evaluated following those four weeks to determine how much longer he could potentially be out.
Westbrook is coming off another phenomenal season in which he put together averages of 25.4 points, 10.3 assists, and 10.1 rebounds while shooting 44.9 percent from the floor. It was the second consecutive season that he averaged a triple-double and he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player for his efforts the previous campaign. Earlier in the offseason, it was reported that Westbrook was working to improve his three-point shooting.
With Westbrook on the shelf, Dennis Schorder, who the team acquired in the Carmelo Anthony trade over the summer, has served as the Thunder’s starting point guard during the preseason. Schroder has definitely thrived in the role as he’s put together averages of 15.3 points, 5.5 assists, and 4.3 rebounds. It’s likely that Schroder will step into that starting role if Westbrook isn’t ready for the start of the regular season.
On Monday, Schroder spoke to the media and stated that he was willing to do “whatever it takes” to help the Thunder win whether Westbrook was able to play or not. Schroder played well throughout the preseason as the team’s starting point guard and it’s likely that he’ll have the very same role if Westbrook can’t suit up at Oracle Arena on Tuesday.