OKLAHOMA CITY, USA – It turns out the San Antonio Spurs were right to be skeptical of a left calf injury that was supposed to have ended the season for Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka.
The Thunder, which last week announced that the 24-year-old Congolese-born Spaniard would miss the remainder of the playoffs due to the injury, upgraded Ibaka’s status Friday to day-to-day.
That means the Spurs, who won the first two games of their best-of-seven Western Conference final against Oklahoma City at home, might have to face Ibaka starting with game three on Sunday in Oklahoma City.
“The abundance of blood and therefore swelling in Serge’s calf has reduced substantially and unexpectedly, allowing a level of movement and stability not thought possible after the initial diagnosis,” Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement Friday.
“Based on both imaging and physical exam, the considerable swelling in the calf indicated the likelihood of a certain degree of injury, and that established the original time frame for recovery.”
Ibaka said this week that he thought he could return if the Thunder beat the Spurs to reach the NBA Finals, which open June 5, but it appears he could return much sooner.
“At present, Serge has yet to complete a full basketball workout, but is walking and doing light basketball drills,” Presti said.
“With this new information, and in an effort to keep his status current, we are now listing him as day-to-day with the understanding that there is a possibility for him to play in this series.”
Ibaka was injured eight days ago in a second-round series-clinching victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Ibaka has averaged 12.2 points and 7.3 rebounds in the playoffs and averaging a career-high 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds in the regular season. – Rappler.com