Injured Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka knows it would be painful to play, but he’s still holding out hope of returning to the court as soon as Sunday’s Game 3 of the Western Conference final against the San Antonio Spurs.
Ibaka told reporters on Saturday that has has not run or practiced since he suffered a left calf strain in Game 6 of the Western Conference semifinal series against the Los Angeles Clippers on May 15. But he was able to do some shooting.
“Right now, I’m waiting for the team doctor to confirm, and also it’s depending on whether I will go tomorrow, day by day, and see,” Ibaka said. “It’s 100 percent going to hurt. For sure if the doctor gives me the OK and I feel better tomorrow, I will be 100 percent with the pain for sure, but like I said, I’m going to do whatever it takes to help my team.”
Ibaka’s status was updated to day to day on Friday after the Thunder initially announced that he would miss the series. He said there is no risk of further injury.
“You know, I’m the type of guy, I’ve been through a lot when I was young,” said Ibaka, who walked without a limp. “I know it’s going to be tough. I understand it’s going to be tough, but I will get my mind ready, whatever, like I said, the doctor give me the OK, I’ll be ready to go.”
Thunder forward Kevin Durant is not counting on Ibaka being ready on Sunday.
“I don’t know what his status is,” Durant said. “I’ve heard some stuff, but I don’t know. But we’re preparing like he’s not playing because that’s what he said before we started the series.”
The Thunder trail the Spurs 2-0 in the best-of-seven after losing the first two games in San Antonio.
“One thing I’m going to say … I’ve been hearing a lot of people saying my team lost two games because I was out,” Ibaka said. “It’s not true. It’s not true. I believe in my guys. I believe in my teammates, that they can do better, with me or without me. It’s not an excuse because Serge Ibaka was not there.”
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