Photo Credit: Getty Images
- Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka will be out for four to six weeks following arthroscopic knee surgery on March 17.
After enduring injuries to Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder will now have to be without power forward Serge Ibaka. Ibaka underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on March 17 and will sit out the next four to six weeks.
Serge Ibaka will be out for the next four to six weeks.
Oklahoma City Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti announced on the team’s official website that Ibaka underwent successful arhtroscopic knee surgery for his sore right knee:
“After monitoring the soreness in Serge’s knee and having taken several intermediate steps to assess and manage the discomfort, it was determined that the necessary next step in the evaluation was to see a specialist to discuss options to help alleviate the soreness and swelling he had been experiencing.
“During the consultation with Dr. David Altichek, his recommendation, in agreement with Thunder medical personnel, Serge and his representatives, was for Serge to have arthroscopic knee surgery to remedy the problematic area.”
NewsOK.com’s Darnell Mayberry says the four- to six-week timeline means Ibaka will be out for the rest of the 2014-15 NBA regular season. Presti tells Mayberry he’s optimistic Ibaka, who underwent surgery in New York City, will return. He’s also not worried about any long-term repercussions of the operation.
Thunder F Serge Ibaka will miss 4-6 weeks after knee surgery http://t.co/DfDULrWaEb pic.twitter.com/NKK4cXMVWf— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) March 17, 2015
Presti reveals Ibaka began feeling discomfort in his knee sometime in late February. The Thunder tried several remedies to help alleviate the soreness, but to no avail. Aside from medication and rest, the Thunder tried draining Ibaka’s knee but resulted in “swelling, stiffness and limited mobility” instead, per Mayberry.
According to the NewsOK.com update, Presti emphasizes Ibaka’s ordeal is due to “wear and tear”:
“These types of roughening episodes are not uncommon. They’re really the result of just wear and tear. It happens to athletes over time. Generally, you’d like to try to deal with these in the offseason but what separated Serge’s a little bit and kind of led us to where we ended up is that he was having some swelling as a result of that.
“If we continued to manage in-season with with aspiration and medication and rest, it probably wasn’t going to plateau the discomfort of the swelling. The only way to really get on top of that would be to go in and have a brief clean-out to try to take some of the roughening off of the kneecap.
He also told Mayberry he could not specify when Ibaka will take the court as far as his post-surgery rehab is concerned:
“I don’t want to take any liberties in terms of his specific protocol because the honest answer to the question is I’m not exactly sure when he would transition into an on-court part of his rehabilitation. Other than to say anytime that you’re having a procedure and your return to play is estimated within weeks, obviously that rehab process, just by way of the window of time, will move relatively quickly.
Will Serge Ibaka’s latest injury dissolve the Thunder’s balance? http://t.co/bihA9SXpUW (via @RobMahoney) pic.twitter.com/9xnYW6xqfI— SI NBA (@si_nba) March 17, 2015
“It depends on how he does and if there are any setbacks. And there generally are some good days and some bad days. But in terms of his cardiovascular and conditioning, we’ve got an incredible athletic performance and medical team that work very well together in terms of getting guys ready to play in ways cardiovascular that don’t require necessarily basketball activities.
“There’s a lot that can be done with water therapy, we’ve got different performance devices with the team that are low impact…So he’ll have a return to play plan that every injury and every player that we experience an injury with is assigned. It’s a collaborative process. This will be no different than any of the other ones.”
With Ibaka sidelined, Mayberry says the Thunder will go with a starting power-forward rotation featuring Nick Collison, Mitch McGary and Steven Adams. Presti remains confident the Thunder will remain competitive:
“You’d always like to have everybody available to you. But that’s not realistic all the time in the NBA. We’ve learned that and we feel really good about the depth of our team, we feel really good about the potential of our team and we expect to play well. We have throughout the season at different points in time played at an extremely high level.
“For us, the challenge coming into the season before we were dealing with some of the medical issues, was always going to be consistency of play, ability to execute on both ends of the floor, the finer points of the game. And that remains to be the measure of the team for us going forward regardless of who’s on the floor. But we certainly feel good about the group that we have.”
Ibaka is the latest injury casualty for Oklahoma City. All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook missed 15 games while 2013-14 NBA MVP Kevin Durant sat out 39 games. The Thunder currently sport a 37-29 win-loss record and are just a game ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West, per ESPN’s Royce Young.
The 25-year-old Ibaka has been chipping in with 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 64 appearances during the 2014-15 NBA season, says Young.
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