Westbrook underwent arthroscopic surgery in his right knee on September 12, and the former NBA Most Valuable Player is still unable to participate in full-contact drills. His status for Tuesday’s season-opener against Golden State is uncertain.
“Every day for him, he feels better and better,” coach Billy Donovan said after a team practice Thursday. “I don’t want to say [if he’ll be ready for Tuesday]. I know you guys want to know that, but that’s too far out and there will be a lot of things that will go into that decision.
“There’s certain things he’ll have to go through to get himself fully cleared to play, but he’s certainly moving in the right direction and he’s worked really hard at his rehab to get himself back.”
Despite not being able to play with full contact, Westbrook has participated in portions of team practices this month. The Thunder hope he can make his return next week, but they refuse to rush the process.
“He’s been in controlled situations that the medical staff has allowed him to do,” Donovan said. “And hopefully with the way he responds physically after going through a workout, they’ll be able to add a little bit more and more.”
There’s more notes out of the Northwest Division:
- Like Westbrook, Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless may also miss his team’s season opener, according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. Harkless has dealt with a sore left knee, a lingering injury that stems from when he underwent surgery in March. Portland opens its season next Thursday against the Lakers.
- Jazz guard Raul Neto is slated to miss at least two more weeks of action, the team announced this week. Neto is dealing with a right hamstring injury and will be sidelined to start the regular season.
- Dennis Schroder has refocused after leaving the Hawks and is looking forward to a new season with the Thunder, Brett Dawson of The Athletic writes.