NBA: Thunder lose forward Ibaka for four to six weeks
OKLAHOMA CITY, United States – Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka underwent successful surgery on Tuesday to repair his sore right knee and will be sidelined from four to six weeks, the NBA club announced.
That means that if the Thunder are to reach the NBA playoffs, they will have to do so without the 25-year-old Congolese-born Spaniard.
Ibaka has averaged 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.42 blocked shots in 33 minutes over 64 starts for the Thunder this season and his absence adds to the team’s major injury woes with 2014 NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant still out of the lineup.
“After monitoring the soreness in Serge’s knee and having taken several intermediate steps to assess and manage the discomfort, it was determined that the necessary next step in the evaluation was to see a specialist to discuss options to help alleviate the soreness and swelling,” said Thunder general manager Sam Presti.
“During the consultation with Dr. David Altchek, his recommendation, in agreement with Thunder medical personnel, Serge and his representatives, was for Serge to have arthroscopic surgery to remedy the problematic area.”
Ibaka had led the NBA in blocked shots in each of the past four seasons.
Durant missed games
Durant has missed 40 games this season with various foot injuries while star guard Russell Westbrook, himself sidelined for 15 games early this season when the Thunder opened 3-12, has raised his game and now leads the NBA with 27.5 points a game.
At 37-30, the Thunder are just ahead of the New Orleans Pelicans (36-30) for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference. Oklahoma City is five games behind the seventh-place Los Angeles Clippers with 15 games to play.
With only four weeks remaining in the regular season, Ibaka will be missing for the stretch run that decides whether or not the Thunder reach the playoffs.