In the midst of All-Star Weekend, Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant proclaimed that his superstar teammate, Russell Westbrook, would be ready to play against the Miami Heat when the Thunder resume their schedule on Thursday night, but OKC head coach Scott Brooks isn’t so sure.
Scott Brooks said Russell Westbrook practiced fully for the first time today. Game-time decision tomorrow.
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) February 19, 2014
Brooks didn’t go out of his way to say that Westbrook isn’t playing and it is certainly an encouraging sign that he practiced without restraint on Wednesday, but this certainly isn’t the ringing endorsement that Durant gave a few days ago. Westbrook was one of the most durable players in the NBA prior to his knee injury during the 2013 playoffs, but complications from that issue have caused him to appear in only 25 games this season.
Without him in the lineup, the Thunder (led by Durant’s MVP-level ridiculousness) have been able to keep a stranglehold on the Western Conference playoff race, but they are unquestionably a more dangerous team if Westbrook can go. It’ll be interesting to see how Brooks and company elect to handle Westbrook against the Heat on Thursday, but he’s back soon, and that’s a great thing.