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Assessing Russell Westbrook’s Ankle Injury

It was a scary moment for Thunder fans seeing Russell Westbrook go down screaming in pain near the end of the third quarter against the Pelicans.

In the video below, it appears as though Westbrook suffered an inversion ankle sprain. An inversion sprain occurs when the foot rolls inward and the ligaments on the outside of the ankle become overstretched (sprained).

Per the Thunder medical staff, Westbrook suffered a “left ankle sprain.” This is an intentionally vague diagnosis, as the organization will need to evaluate Westbrook further to determine the severity and location of the sprain. Low ankle sprains typically heal faster than high ankle sprains and the severity, or “grade”, of the sprain will determine how many games Westbrook will ultimately miss.

Low Grade 1 ankle sprains typically take 2-4 weeks to heal, with a Grade 2 ranging from 6-8 weeks. High ankle sprains generally come with a minimum of four weeks recovery time. It’s difficult to guess how many games Westbrook will miss without knowing the severity or location of the sprain, but by the looks of things, it’s certainly not “serious” in terms of being season-ending. Per ESPN’s Royce Young, Westbrook did have an x-ray on his ankle, which was thankfully negative.

The positive spin is that the Thunder acquired Dennis Schröeder precisely for situations like this. For the first time in a long time, the Thunder have the necessary pieces to not completely fall apart in Westbrook’s absence. However, unless something uncommon pops up, Schröeder shouldn’t have to lead the Thunder for too long. As far as your star player screaming in agony goes, this is about as good of an initial diagnosis as you can hope for.

Editor’s Note: Olivia Panchal is a Daily Thunder contributor and graduated with a Human Biology (Sports Performance emphasis) degree from the University of Southern California. She’s currently completing her master’s degree in biomedical science.