Report: Westbrook’s Sprained Ankle Confirmed, Will Be Evaluated on Game-by-Game Basis
Take a breath, Thunder fans. Despite suffering what appeared to be a devastating ankle injury on Monday night versus the Pelicans, Russell Westbrook’s left ankle injury has been confirmed as nothing more than a sprain. While he’s already been ruled out of tomorrow’s showdown with the Cleveland Cavaliers, it’s possible he will return to the Thunder lineup by the weekend/early next week.
X-rays were negative and after further evaluation Tuesday, it was confirmed it was nothing more than an ankle sprain that looked worse than it actually is.
Westbrook traveled with the team to Cleveland and will be evaluated again Thursday to see how he feels, and his status will likely be updated on a game-by-game basis. The Thunder, who have won five straight, play the Rockets on Thursday in OKC. However, considering it’s a back-to-back and the Thunder won’t hold a shootaround or practice before the game, Westbrook and the Thunder will probably lean conservatively on returning for that game with an eye more toward Dallas on Saturday, or Phoenix next week.
Given the scene that unfolded as he hit the floor in clear pain, this news is certainly welcomed for a Thunder team in the process of finding their rhythm. As Young mentioned, OKC will likely be without Westbrook again on Thursday night versus the Rockets. However, with the Cavaliers, Mavericks, Suns, Knicks, and Kings on the schedule for six of the next seven games, it’s likely that Westbrook will return to the fold with time to spare before the Thunder make the trip to Oakland to face the Warriors on November 21. In a perfect world, the team can handle their business against a soft schedule and allow for as much recovery time as needed for the former MVP.
As with any injury, things could change as Westbrook begins treatment and sees how his ankle responds. In any case, it’s a major crisis averted for the Thunder early on in the 2018-19 season.