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Sun, Feb 7, 2016

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Russell Westbrook to play against the Heat

By Royce Young | NBA writer

The Thunder just made the best acquisiton on trade deadline day.

The team announced Russell Westbrook will play against the Heat on Thursday, his first game since Dec. 25.

Westbrook has been out since Christmas after having an arthroscopic procedure on his surgerically repaired right knee. He makes his return right on the team's timetable that was set in December.

However, it sounds like he will have a minute restriction placed upon him and he might not play in back-to-backs for the time being.

“We are all very excited to have Russell back. He has worked extremely hard throughout his rehabilitation, and his addition will allow us to build on the progress we have made in his absence," Sam Presti said in a statement. "As Russell integrates back into the team we are going to manage the transition by building his minutes over time and will evaluate his availability in back-to-back situations. These steps are an effort to control the areas of his return to play where feasible, given the reduced practice and conditioning time during the regular season. Our goal is to create the best foundation for Russell and the team as we head into the postseason.”

Westbrook, 24, is averaging 21.3 points and 7.0 assists in 25 games this season. The Thunder are 21-4 with him, and 22-8 without him.

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