Russell Westbrook is officially back, confirming to reporters at shootaround on Wednesday morning that he’ll play against the 76ers.
Westbrook’s face was a little puffy, and he’ll wear a clear mask.
“It’s regular,” Westbrook said. “You can’t get crazy with the mask. The league only lets you have a clear mask. So that’s all I got.”
Here’s how Westbrook described the injury and finding a dent in his face:
“It happened so quick, I was just blessed to be able to get up, to be able to try and continue the game,” he said. “The process was really quick. Had a doctor in L.A. to take care of my little dent.
“It was definitely scary when you feel your face and it feels a little deformed. It’s definitely a different feeling and definitely scary.”
Westbrook was asked about the idea of him hurrying back because of the Thunder’s current situation.
“Nah, I think my health is more important than that,” he said.
Westbrook missed 14 games in November and returned wearing a protective cover on his right hand. But a face mask is obviously a different kind of challenge to play with.
“It’s definitely different,” he said. “I’ve never played in a mask, so it’s something I have to adjust to and I’m just going to go with it.”
Kevin Durant also walked over — no boot, no limp — to speak with reporters. He’s still out for at least the next week, but when asked if he’s confident he’ll return this season, he didn’t hesitate.
“No doubt, no doubt,” Durant said. “Looking forward to it, returning this season, no doubt. I’m not packing it in at all.”
Durant said he’s feeling a lot better already and hopes the new procedure will let him play pain free.
“I’m more just focused on trying to get this pain out of his and coming back when I’m ready, when I’m 100 percent ready,” he said. “Not trying to force it, or not trying to play with pain, just trying to conquer this little stage I’m in right now, which is getting it to stay right, working as hard as I can in the weight room and on the court. It’s tough, but I’ve just got to be ready to go.
“I know why I was having so much pain,” Durant said. “To have that corrected feels so much better. When someone digs in your foot, you’re going to have some pain. That’s what they did when they re-inserted a different screw. All that pain I had before was gone, but there’s still some pain there from them going back in there and stitching me up. But I should be fine here soon.
“I know I can’t be out just hobbling around, limping around on one foot. I need to be out there at full strength.”