Russell Westbrook Face Mask
Russell Westbrook seems to be inching closer to a return for the Rockets, but according to the injury report released by the team ahead of their Game 5 showdown against the Thunder on Wednesday, he’s been ruled out for the contest.
The news comes as a bit of a surprise considering the somewhat optimistic tone head coach Mike D’Antoni seemed to have on Tuesday.
D’Antoni described Westbrook as “day-to-day,” which many translated as an upgrade in his status. Prior to Game 3, for example, D’Antoni said that Westbrook was “not close” to a return, whereas the update provided prior to Game 4 was that the former MVP was “getting closer” to returning.
Apparently, over the past few days, he’s continued to make positive strides.
According to USA TODAY Sports Media Group’s Ben DuBose, writing for RocketsWire, D’Antoni offered a “we’ll see” when asked whether Westbrook could suit up for Game 5.
When Russell Westbrook ready to return?
The medical staff, however, doesn’t deem Westbrook ready to return just yet.
Typically, in situations such as these, if there was a chance that a player would return to the lineup, a team would list him as either being “questionable,” as a “game-decision,” or even “doubtful.” It would be considered a dramatic turn of events for a player to go from being declared as “out” for a contest to being in the lineup.
While such a move wouldn’t be unprecedented, it stands to reason that Westbrook will miss his fifth consecutive playoff contest when the Rockets and Thunder lock horns on Wednesday.
Conspicuous by his absence, Westbrook hasn’t taken the floor against his former team. He’s been sidelined with a strained right quad since Aug. 11 but has been diligently rehabbing in an attempt to return to action.
With his team in a 2-2 series with the Thunder and essentially locked into a best-of-three, it has understandably increased the Rockets’ urgency to get him back on the floor, but the team’s medical staff obviously doesn’t feel comfortable signing off on his return just yet.