Ibaka Upgraded to Day-to-Day for Thunder
(OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla.) -- The Oklahoma City Thunder may have gained a much needed boost prior to Game 3 of their Western Conference Finals with San Antonio. Power forward Serge Ibaka was upgraded to day-to-day and could play on Sunday night.
Ibaka was thought to be out for the rest of the playoffs with a left calf strain but has progressed well enough to potentially play. The Thunder trail the series, 2-0, in two very lopsided games against San Antonio.
"A big part of this is the swelling in his calf has reduced incredibly rapidly, more so than any of us could've expected or our medical staff could've projected," said Oklahoma City general manager, Sam Presti. "And as a result of that he's demonstrating a function level and a stability level that's better than where we thought we would be."
Even if he is unable to perform at 100%, the presence of Ibaka alone could play a significant role. The Spurs outscored Oklahoma City by a combined 52 points in the first two games of the series, shooting 78 percent from inside.
While Presti may be optimistic, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks is still preparing to play without his top post defender.
"It's changed from we thought he was going to be out to now it's day-to-day, but he's still out," Brooks explained. "We're still focusing on trying to beat the Spurs without him playing, and that has not changed. I know he's listed as day-to-day, but he's still out until I'm told differently."
When in the lineup, Ibaka and the Thunder held San Antonio to 93.0 points per 100 possessions. Oklahoma City won all four meetings between the two teams in the regular season. He originally suffered the injury in the third quarter of the team's series clinching win over Los Angeles. Game 3 is Sunday night in Oklahoma.
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