The spectacle of the injury to Oklahoma City Thunder big man Serge Ibaka and the comeback he made during the Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs was full of drama. The Spurs smoked the Ibaka-less Thunder in the first two games of the series, and then lost the next two games of his comeback before taking care of business in six contests. Ibaka's ability to work through such a serious injury was more than admirable but ultimately meaningless because his team loss.
In a Q&A with Bleacher Report's Jared Zwerling, Ibaka tells us he had a full rupture in his left calf and that he's still not 100 percent a couple months later. Considering Ibaka is supposedly planning on playing for Spain in the FIBA World Cup in September, it's safe to assume he should be 100 percent by the time the tournament begins.
Bleacher Report: Early reports had you out for the Western Conference Finals and NBA Finals after suffering a left calf strain against the Los Angeles Clippers in Round 2. Yet you made a surprisingly quick return by Game 3 vs. the Spurs. What do you remember about the injury?
Serge Ibaka: It was a complete rupture in my left calf. My calf was huge and swollen. The doctors told me, "You're out for the playoffs. It's over."
B/R: So how are you feeling now?
SI: I'm not 100 percent back yet, but I'm getting better. I'm trying to get back in shape and it's going to take time.
I have no idea how long it's supposed to take to recover from a complete rupture in your calf but that sounds incredibly painful. If he's not 100 percent for the international tournament action in September, I can't imagine the Thunder would let him play in those games. There's no upside for them and they'll want him to be 100 percent for training camp at the end of September.
Ibaka has been so important for this team's growth. His development into one of the best defensive big men after mostly being a wild shot blocker has been the difference between the Thunder being a really good team and the Thunder being able to still contend for titles after trading away James Harden. He's also become a very solid safety valve scoring option for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to pass off to.