Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka is expected to be shelved for the remainder of the postseason with a left calf injury sustained in Game 6 of the Thunder's second round series with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Ibaka hobbled off the court in the third quarter of Game 6, and did not return as the Thunder clinched the series with a 104-98 victory over the Clippers. Ibaka underwent an MRI on Friday, and the team proceeded to announce his status after learning of Serge's crippled state.
The injury has been classified as a grade two strain of the plantaris, an injury that must be nursed carefully as it has a high reinjury probability according to OKC general manager Sam Presti.
In a statement issued by Presti, he stated the following: "We are obviously disappointed for Serge, as he is a tremendous competitor, and we know how badly he wants to be on the court with his teammates. At this point it is important that our team directs its concentration and energy towards preparation and execution for our upcoming series. As with all teams, our group has confronted different challenges. It is our collective experience that we will call on to ensure that we play to our capabilities."
A return to the Thunder is highly unlikely for Ibaka Presti announced on Friday evening in a conference call with reporters, providing the Thunder with a multitude of questions in the avenue of who their third legitimate scorer will be.
Last year, Oklahoma City was dealt a mammoth blow, as superstar Russell Westbrook was sidelined for the entire postseason with a torn meniscus in his right knee. This year is Ibaka, greatly slimming down the Thunder's chances of claiming victory against the Spurs in this series.
These injuries simply highlight the fragility of championship hopes, as one simple misstep or tweak can transform the brightest burning championship fire to an unanticipated flameout.
Serge Ibaka was averaging 12.2 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 2.2 BPG through 13 playoff games. He also had a career year, posting highs in points with 15.1 a game and rebounds with 8.8 during the regular season.
The Thunder will surely miss Ibaka and his intimidating interior defensive presence, as they attempt to slow down the sly and crafty Tony Parker and the extreme fundamentalist maneuvers of Tim Duncan.
The Western Conference Finals begin on Monday in San Antonio, as Oklahoma City hopes to build on the fantastic regular season success it had against the Spurs.
The Thunder swept the season series 4-0 against the Spurs, who's 62 wins provided them with the best record in the league this year.
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