Serge Ibaka could return for Game 3 of the Western Conference finals
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has a strong possibility of playing in Sunday's Game 3 of the Western Conference finals after the team upgraded him to day-to-day, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Ibaka went through a battery of tests on Thursday and his calf responded well. He injured the calf during Game 6 of the Thunder's second-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, after which team officials declared him out for the remainder of the postseason.
Despite the prognosis of a four-to-eight-week time frame for the injury to heal, Ibaka had pushed to return, believing he could play through the pain.
“The abundance of blood and therefore swelling in Serge’s calf has reduced substantially and unexpectedly, allowing a level of movement and stability not thought possible after the initial diagnosis," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement.
The San Antonio Spurs lead the Thunder 2-0 in the Western Conference finals. Ibaka's absence has been noticeable on both ends of the floor for Oklahoma City, which has missed its shot-blocker while struggling to keep the Spurs out of the lane. The Spurs scored 122 and 112 points in the series' first two games.
Thunder coach Scott Brooks had been adamant after the team's Game 1 loss on Monday that Ibaka would not return in the series.
"Based on both imaging and physical exam, the considerable swelling in the calf indicated the likelihood of a certain degree of injury, and that established the original time frame for recovery," Presti said in the statement.
Game 3 of the series is Sunday in Oklahoma City.