Russell Westbrook may return from his second knee surgery of 2013 much quicker than initially expected.
Yahoo! Sports reports that Oklahoma City's All-Star guard could be back on the court "within two weeks," placing his possible return date in mid-November.
The Thunder initially announced that Westbrook would miss the first four-to-six weeks of the 2013-14 season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in early October. Westbrook previously underwent season-ending surgery to repair a meniscus tear in the same knee back in April.
Last week, Westbrook participated in non-contact portions of a Thunder practice.
The Point Forward has previously asserted that Westbrook's initial recovery timeline wasn't the end of the world for a title-contending Oklahoma City team, but it goes without saying that such an optimistic prognosis is welcome news. The Thunder open their regular season on Wednesday against the Jazz in Utah; a two-week timetable would mean that Westbrook misses roughly seven games rather than the 13-21 games he was initially expected to miss. Even better, six of Oklahoma City's first seven games are against 2013 lottery teams.
Reggie Jackson, 23, will step in as the Thunder's starting point guard in Westbrook's absence. The third-year guard out of Boston College averaged 13.9 points and 3.6 assists when Westbrook was sidelined during the 2013 playoffs.
A shorter recovery timeline for Westbrook would also further crowd the Western Conference's All-Star backcourt picture, as Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Tony Parker, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Jrue Holiday and Damian Lillard are all vying for spots. It would also move him back into the All-NBA conversation. Westbrook, 24, averaged 23.2 points, 7.4 assists, 5.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals last season, earning All-NBA Second Team honors. He was selected to his third career All-Star Game.