Chicago Bulls legend and NBA Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen says Oklahoma City Thunder star point guard Russell Westbrook will be an even better player once he returns from his knee injury.
Westbrook underwent surgery on his right knee on Sept. 12 and was just re-evaluated by doctors this past Wednesday. It was the fourth procedure Westbrook has had on his right knee following a collision with Patrick Beverley in the 2013 playoffs that resulted in a meniscus tear. Westbrook underwent three surgeries on the knee in a nine-month span. However, it had been four and a half years since any surgery was performed on Westbrook’s knee prior to the September procedure.
Pippen expects Westbrook to come back with a vengeance once he’s cleared to return to the court.
“I expect him to come back better.” Pippen said of Westbrook during his appearance on The Jump. “When we’ve seen him have injuries in the past, he comes back with this fierce, competitive fire. I expect nothing less. He’s had the summer to get his body physically ready.”
Thunder head coach Billy Donovan says Russell Westbrook is doing “controlled” contact at the moment. If Westbrook is unable to play in the season-opener against the Golden State Warriors, OKC will start Dennis Schröder at the point guard spot. The Thunder acquired Schröder in the offseason from the Atlanta Hawks in the Carmelo Anthony trade.
Russell Westbrook has averaged a triple-double for two seasons in a row, and won the 2017 MVP award. Last season, Westbrook posted averages of 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists per game during the regular season. The 29-year-old shot 44.9 percent from the field, 29.8 percent from beyond the arc and 73.7 percent from the free-throw line.