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Report: Serge Ibaka attempting playoff comeback

May 20, 2014, 10:45 AM EDT

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Clippers - Game Four Getty Images

Though the San Antonio Spurs said they don’t believe Serge Ibaka will miss the rest of the postseason, Thunder coach Scott Brooks remained steadfast.

“Contrary to what San Antonio was thinking, he’s not coming back,” Brooks said. “…He’s not coming through those doors.”

That’s unfortunate for Oklahoma City. To say the Thunder missed Ibaka in Game 1 would be an understatement. They were lost defensively without him, allowing the Spurs to just cruise into the paint for easy shots.

But maybe Oklahoma City has help on the way.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Ibaka is back in Oklahoma City for Games 1 and 2 – ruled out of the playoffs with a lower leg injury – but his willingness to play with pain, his loyalty to the championship cause, has him thinking about starting some stationary shooting late this week, a league source told Yahoo Sports on Monday.

For additional context, the headline of the article is “As Thunder miss Serge Ibaka in Game 1 loss to Spurs, shot-blocker still hopes to return.” I don’t know Wojnarowski’s role in headlining his articles, but that’s worded much more strongly than anything in the article itself.

I don’t doubt Ibaka’s attempts to return. He’s a competitor, and he didn’t reach the level he has without pushing himself. He can’t just turn that off.

However, there’s a huge difference between stationary shooting and defending a San Antonio pick-and-roll. If Ibaka plays, it might be mostly symbolic. Not to discount the value in that – there certainly could be some – but Oklahoma City needs an interior defender more than a symbol.

The Thunder could trail 2-0 before Ibaka even does that stationary shooting, anyway. If Ibaka is going to make an impact, it will be on his teammates – to extend the series long enough for him to return and then to rally around his presence rather than his production.

  1. chawbacon14 - May 20, 2014 at 10:55 AM

    Pure drama from Wojo, of course Serge is thinking about playing , what player would not. That does not speak to the realistic possiblity of that happening.

    A Queen of Drama, Wojo has become …. a step down for him.

    But I bet he got a bunch of hits with that tidbit of speculation, which is soooo obvious.

    Hey, I bet Kurt Helin is thinking about how he would like to be a billionaire and buy the Clippers ? How wrong would I be hahaha ?

  2. goraidersgospurs - May 20, 2014 at 10:57 AM

    Just follow D.Rose, Don’t Rush Back!!!

    • the1nonlyk - May 20, 2014 at 1:52 PM

      lol or more like dont rush back to play ever for drose

  3. savvybynature - May 20, 2014 at 11:02 AM

    Surprise, surprise!
    A calf strain is painful, but I was skeptical it would keep him out of the entire playoffs. He’ll be getting constant treatment and they have ways to treat the pain. Wouldn’t shock me at all to see him come back for game 5 or 6.

    • spursareold - May 20, 2014 at 11:41 AM

      It’s not a calf sprain. It’s near the calf, but a separate muscle, the plantaris muscle. It controls the ability to push off from the floor. Having him play would be worse than his replacements in this condition. They are talking about him missing time THIS SUMMER with the Spanish NT.

  4. money2long - May 20, 2014 at 11:25 AM

    Was it a strain or rupture

    • spursareold - May 20, 2014 at 11:42 AM

      Grade 2 sprain of the plantaris muscle, near the calf.

  5. azarkhan - May 20, 2014 at 11:31 AM

    I doubt he will be back. If there is any chance of making the injury worse, Presti and Brooks won’t play him, nor should they. Besides, even if he plays, he’ll be hobbled.

    Hasheem Thabeet, anyone?

  6. cbking05 - May 20, 2014 at 12:14 PM

    It’s not like he broke his leg…

  7. pputnam100 - May 20, 2014 at 4:47 PM

    damn it, I know it’s part of the game but I think the Thunder at full strength vs Spurs would have been magnificent ball.
    Jumping ahead, I imagine Vegas will favor Spurs over Pacers but I think Pacers will have a real shot at it, they’re bigger, younger, meaner. Oh,.. so you noticed I’ve counted out any hope of the Heat pulling off the series? Well that’s right, you’re seeing the changing of the guard, The Heat had a nice little run that put them in some elite company, but this Pacer squad look so damn good…

    • dablakdrphil - May 20, 2014 at 5:56 PM

      I’m not even a Heat fan, the complete opposite but I don’t see Pacers beating Miami in a 7 game series. The big 3 has only been beaten once in a playoff series since they came together and it’s hard to trust Pacers being only the second team when they’ve been underperforming for the better of 2 months

    • im2gr84u2h8on - May 20, 2014 at 6:01 PM

      you hit the nail on the head…despite all your thumbs down you will end up being correct.

  8. uwbsu2014 - May 21, 2014 at 7:35 AM

    Well it is a tough way to see how truly valuable Ibaka is. San Antonio’s 48 min scoring with him on the floor is 93 and when he is off it is 120 which they got to very easily in the first game.. There can’t be much of a bigger difference in this area for any other player in the league. That statistic that was mentioned on Monday night is truly amazing, and I did not see one team this year gets so many easy shots as the Spurs did in game 1. Without him patrolling down there, Perkins becomes even more of a disaster than he already is (ranked 334 out of 337 players in Per ranking for the 2013-14 season), which begs the question, is it time for him to rise to his true calling and work with Rumble and the new herd that is being rounded up.

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