All-Star guard Russell Westbrook on Monday participated in "bits and pieces" of the Thunder's practice for the first time since having knee surgery last month, according to coach Scott Brooks.
Reggie Jackson, who is filling in as Oklahoma City's starting point guard while Westbrook is sidelined, came away impressed with how his teammate looked in non-contact drills.
"My brother and his brother talk a little before games. His brother told mine that Russell’s probably bouncing better than ever," Jackson told The Oklahoman. "I had to see it to believe it. One of the dunks [today], he went up and looked like the old Russell, plus some, head at the rim. We’ll be happy when he gets back fully healthy, but it’s good to see him with a smile on his face, being about the team, bouncing back and happy to be back on the court."
On Oct. 1, the Thunder announced that Westbrook would miss the first four to six weeks of the regular season after undergoing a second surgery on his right knee. If that timetable holds, Westbrook would be sidelined roughly 13-21 games.
Westbrook had season-ending surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee in April. He was injured midway through the second quarter of a 105-102 Game 2 victory over the Rockets in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. The injury was a key factor in the Thunder’s loss to the Grizzlies in the second round after advancing to the 2012 NBA Finals.
Westbrook, 24, averaged 23.2 points, 7.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals last season for the Thunder, who finished a conference-best 60-22. The five-year veteran is a three-time All-Star and a two-time All-NBA second-team selection. The Point Forward ranked Westbrook No. 5 on our Top 100 of 2014 list.