While the Rockets can only set a timetable for when next they will evaluate Russell Westbrook’s stiff quads, it is expected that he will play in the first few games of next week’s playoff series and maybe longer, someone with knowledge of the team’s thinking said Thursday.
Westbrook was dropped from Friday’s final seed match against the Philadelphia 76ers after waking up to pain on Wednesday, a day after returning from an injury and being scanned for an MRI.
Westbrook did not have any trouble with injury during Tuesday̵7;s match against San Antonio Spurs or shortly thereafter, according to the individual familiar with the process so far.
Westbrook said after that match that he was confident he would play on Fridays and with training on the weekends, had enough time to be in full fitness for the playoffs on Monday or Tuesday.
However, the MRI suggests tension will take enough time for the Rockets to prepare to kick off their first series of games against Oklahoma City Thunder, Westbrook’s former side, as if he were initially out.
“We’ll see how he reacts,” Rockets manager Mike D’Antoni said after Wednesday’s game against Indiana Pacers. “We will meet next week.”
Westbrook is averaging 27.2 points per game, accounting for 47.2% of his career’s best shots. After a slow start while adjusting to his role in the Rockets offense and about to have knee surgery out of season, he averaged 30.6 points per game when shooting 51.5 percent , added 7.9 rebounds and seven assists in those 27 games.
Arrival on the NBA’s Florida campus has been delayed because of the COVID-19 case, but he played for three games before going out with thigh muscle strain. He played 26 minutes on Tuesday and was scheduled to sit out the second half of a comeback game before MRI showed he would also have to rest for Friday, and possibly longer.