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Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook will miss the first 4-6 weeks of the NBA season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Tuesday.
General manager Sam Presti said the three-time All-Star had knee swelling that would not subside, and the procedure was intended to solve the problem. He said doctors determined that a loose stitch was to blame for the swelling, that Westbrook's lateral meniscus has healed properly and the procedure was successful.
"Russell has been incredible in his work and rehabilitation," Presti said. "His performance levels have been tremendous, and he's looked great in the part of practice that he's been cleared to go through. So, we were very, very encouraged in that respect. But when the swelling wasn't subsiding, we made the decision to have the knee evaluated."
Westbrook also had surgery in May to repair cartilage in his right knee after he was hurt in Game 2 of Oklahoma City's first-round playoff series with Houston. He had never missed a game in his five NBA seasons before the injury.
Westbrook averaged 23.2 points and 7.4 assists per game last season, but he wound up watching the Thunder's second-round playoff exit to Memphis from the bench.
Knicks short-handed, but say they can score
J.R. Smith is recovering from knee surgery, then faces an NBA suspension when he returns.
Amare Stoudemire is recovering from another knee surgery and faces a restriction on his minutes when he returns.
The New York Knicks have the NBA's leading scorer in Carmelo Anthony, but after that there are questions about who's going to put the ball in the basket until their second- and third-leading scorers get back.
They downplayed those concerns Tuesday after their first practice.
"We've just got to be patient until we get those guys back, and then when they get back, they're going to fit right in," coach Mike Woodson said.
Smith was the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year last season after averaging a career-best 18.1 points. The Knicks said at the time of his surgery that his expected recovery time was 12-16 weeks, and along the way five more games have been tacked on to his absence when the NBA suspended him for violating the anti-drug program.
The Knicks already planned to be cautious with Stoudemire this season after he played in just 29 games last season because of a pair of surgeries. Then he underwent another procedure on his left knee this summer, and Woodson said the former All-Star will play very limited minutes. Add the 14.2 points he averaged, and the Knicks are missing 32 per game from their top two reserves on last season's 54-win team.