Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant both practice, point guard could play Friday
In a bit of good news during a season that has had far too little of it, the Oklahoma City Thunder had to be encouraged with Monday’s development when both Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant participated in practice.
Westbrook, who suffered a broken hand in late October, missing 13 games, and Durant, still recovering from a stress fracture in his foot that required surgery and has yet to play this season, both reportedly took part in most of Monday’s practice, including contract drills.
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks, while arguably encouraged by having his two best players on the practice court together for the first time in a long while, wouldn’t speculate exactly when Westbrook, who is further along in his recovery, would return to a Thunder lineup absolutely decimated by injuries.
“I don’t know,” Brooks said about Westbrook regarding if Friday was a realistic target date, via The Oklahoman. “I just focus on his work that he put in today and just continue to build off that. He will get evaluated later on this week and then we can make some of those decisions later on.”
Overall, Brooks said that both superstars fared well in practice. Both Durant and Westbrook have been participating in individual drills during team practices of late, but Monday was the first time both of them were fully engaged with team drills.
“They looked good,” Brooks said. “But no more than that. They’re going to continue to go through this process, and when they’re ready, 100 percent ready, they will play. But until then, nothing else we know of.”
The return of the two stars can’t come soon enough for the Thunder, who not only had to endure having both Westbrook and Durant out of the lineup but also suffered a litany of injuries to several other players, including Reggie Jackson (ankle), Jeremy Lamb (back strain), Mitch McGary (broken foot), Anthony Morrow (sprained knee) and Grant Jerrett (ankle surgery), among others, who have landed on the injury list.
Being so undermanned has left the Thunder in a precarious position record-wise as it looks up from the cellar at every other team in the loaded Western Conference. Sitting at 3-12, it will require a significant hot streak simply to get back into the postseason conversation.
Of course, with Durant and Westbrook back in the lineup, the Thunder are more than capable of doing just that. Again, the sooner the two rejoin the team, the better.
The Thunder face the New York Knicks on Friday. Having Westbrook in the lineup certainly would bolster the Thunder’s chances of getting on a much-needed winning streak.
(photo credit: Rick Bowmer/Associated Press)