The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without the services of Russell Westbrook again.
After losing the All-Star point guard during the playoffs last season, the Thunder will be without Westbrook after it was announced that he had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday. He is expected to miss seven weeks and return after the NBA’s All-Star break.
“On the most recent MRI, it was determined by the surgeon that there was an area of concern that had not previously existed nor was detectable in the previous procedures,” Oklahoma City general manager Sam Presti said in a statement from the team. “And it was necessary to evaluate Russell further.”
The Oklahoman first reported on Westbrook’s third surgery since he tore his lateral meniscus in April. It was also reported that Westbrook had the most recent surgery after swelling kept reappearing in his knee, prompting the procedure that will keep him out all of January and into February.
“Russell has been playing pain free,” Presti said, “but recently had experienced increased swelling.”
Reggie Jackson will take over starting point guard duties in Westbrook’s absence.
Westbrook went down in Oklahoma City’s opening-round playoff series against Houston last season and missed all of the Thunder’s Western Conference semifinal series against Memphis, which the Thunder lost in five games.
Since returning from his second surgery on Oct. 1, Westbrook has been averaging 21.3 points, six rebounds and seven assists in 25 games for Oklahoma City this season. In December, Westbrook has posted 21.4 points, 6.9 rebounds and 8.1 assists in 14 games.
“We know that Russell’s work ethic and commitment will help him return to the level of play that we have all come to appreciate,” Presti said.
Oklahoma City, which played at Charlotte on Friday night, will wrap up the 2013 portion of its schedule with home contests against Houston on Sunday and Portland on Tuesday.