Report: Thunder Expect Russell Westbrook To Return Thursday Against Heat

Rajon Rondo, Russell WestbrookThe Oklahoma City Thunder are “hopeful” that Russell Westbrook will play in Thursday night’s game against the Miami Heat, according to Yahoo! Sports.

Westbrook has been off the court since Dec. 27, when the Thunder announced he would be out until after the All-Star break while having his third knee surgery in eight months. The 25-year-old point guard will be re-evaluated in Oklahoma City on Tuesday to ensure he is physically ready to participate in Thursday’s game.

Before his injury, Westbrook was averaging 21.3 points, 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds this season. The Thunder have gone 22-8 without Westbrook and are in first place in the Northwest Division.

Forward Kevin Durant has taken charge of the team since Westbrook’s injury, leading the NBA with 31.5 points per game and scoring a career-high 54 points in Oklahoma City’s Jan. 18 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

“This whole group, they are resilient,” Durant said, via Yahoo! Sports. “We persevered through everything and just stayed together. We had faith no matter what. We are looking forward to having Russell back and make it seem less of a transition for him.”

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