Westbrook, George undergo surgery
The Thunder’s two All-Stars each underwent surgeries on Tuesday that could have ramifications into the preseason and beyond.
All-Star forward Paul George underwent surgery on the rotator cuff in his right shoulder, and All-Star guard Russell Westbrook underwent procedures on both his left hand and right knee the Thunder announced on Tuesday.
Both George and Westbrook's procedures were performed at the Kerlan-Jobe clinic in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
George's surgery on his right shoulder was described by the Thunder as the repair of "a partial thickness supraspinatus tendon tear." In the coming weeks, George will also have surgery for a labrum tear in his left shoulder, and will be sidelined for the summer and an undetermined portion of training camp in September.
A partial tear is a somewhat positive diagnosis for George’s right shoulder considering severe rotator cuff tears can come with a prescribed rehabilitation period of six to nine months. The Thunder did not specify how long George would be out, only that an update on his return-to-play status would be provided before the start of the season.
George’s surgery was first reported by ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young,
On Tuesday, Westbrook had surgery on a torn ligament in the fourth metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint of his left hand, as well as arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.
Westbrook began taping his hand before the postseason and alluded that he was dealing with an injury in his postseason exit interview on April 25. Westbrook was planning to get necessary surgery on his hand, but he wanted to be proactive about his right knee as well, opting now for the scope.
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Westbrook is expected to return to full basketball activities in approximately three weeks.
After the All-Star break, George suffered from soreness in both shoulders, which contributed to a dip in his MVP-level numbers. George missed four of the Thunder’s final 24 games after the break and shot just 40 percent from the field and 33.6 percent from 3-point range.
During his exit interview on April 25, George did not go into the specifics of the injury when asked if it was a torn labrum, only that he’d been dealing with a “long time” (injury) throughout the season, even before it was aggravated in a Feb. 26 contest against Denver that forced him to miss three consecutive games.
“I will address it soon, try to get it fixed and get back out there come this next season,” George said during his exit interview.
On April 25, George said he could leave the injury alone and it would become a recurring issue, but he wanted to address it now so he could “clean up what needs to be cleaned up, so it doesn’t come back.”
George said he’d be fine going forward, but didn’t specify a timetable for his return.
Despite the injury, George finished the season among a handful of players in the MVP conversation. In his second season with the Thunder, George finished with career-high per game averages in points (28), rebounds (8.2) assists (4.1) and steals (2.2).
The surgery for Westbook is the fourth procedure on his right knee since 2013. Westbrook had three surgeries on his right knee in a calendar year after Houston's Patrick Beverley collided with him in a first-round playoff game in April 2013.
Since those three previous surgeries, though, for three consecutive seasons Westbrook has played 80 games or more each season.
This season, Westbrook played in 73 games due to preseason arthroscopic surgery on his left knee which forced him to miss all of preseason and the first two games of the season, then a left ankle sprain which ruled him out for six games in November. Still, the 2016-17 MVP averaged a triple-double for a third consecutive season (22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists).