Oklahoma City, OK (SportsNetwork.com) - The Oklahoma City Thunder are about to again face life without Russell Westbrook for an extended period, with the team announcing Friday that the All-Star point guard has undergone a third surgery on his right knee in eight months.
Westbrook had an arthroscopic procedure performed on the knee Friday and is expected to be sidelined until after the All-Star break.
The three-time All-Star tore the meniscus in the same knee while colliding with Houston guard Patrick Beverly during Game 2 of the Thunder's Western Conference quarterfinals series with the Rockets back in April. Westbrook was expected to be back in time for the start of training camp, but suffered a setback in October when a loose stitch caused the knee to swell up and require another surgery.
Westbrook only missed the Thunder's first two regular-season games before returning to action on Nov. 3 and has been productive in 25 outings since coming back, averaging 21.3 points, 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds while playing 32.9 minutes per game.
However, the six-year veteran has recently been bothered by swelling in the knee once again, which necessitated the most recent surgery.
"Russell has been playing pain free, but recently had experienced increased swelling. After consultation and consideration by his surgeon in Los Angeles, a plan was established to monitor the swelling that included a series of scheduled MRIs," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement. "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, and it was necessary to evaluate Russell further. The consulting physician determined that arthroscopic surgery was necessary to address the swelling that was taking place.
"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."
Reggie Jackson will take over as the starting point guard for Oklahoma City, which currently sits a half-game behind Portland for first place in the Northwest Division. The third-year pro averaged 15.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists in nine games filling in for Westbrook during last season's playoffs, in which the Thunder eventually lost to Memphis in the conference semifinals.