Injured guard Russell Westbrook had surgery this morning to repair a fracture in his right hand, the Thunder announced. Westbrook is scheduled to be reevaluated in a month at which point a timetable for his return would be decided. This means that the player will miss a minimum of 15 games, and possibly more depending on how his recovery fares.
This comes on the heels of the Thunder losing superstar Kevin Durant with a broken foot for at least six to eight weeks. Oklahoma City, which has the maximum 15 players on their roster, had already applied to the league for a hardship provision before Westbrook’s injury, but the NBA turned them down because they had yet to play three regular season games. The team is expected to apply again after tonight’s game. If the hardship provision is granted, it would allow the team to add a 16th player to their roster, but the Thunder would have to pare the roster back down to 15 once one of their injured players made his return.
The immediate problem for the team is the lack of depth at point guard, with Sebastian Telfair being the only healthy point man on the roster. The Thunder are considering signing free agent Gal Mekel, and other available point guards include Will Bynum, John Lucas III and Ish Smith.