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Thunder hope Ibaka can return vs. Spurs

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The Oklahoma City Thunder are holding out hope that injured power forward Serge Ibaka will be able to return during the Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs.

Ibaka was expected to miss the series with a calf injury. He sustained the injury during the Thunder’s second-round series clincher over the Los Angeles Clippers last week.

The Thunder on Friday said Ibaka’s calf has made progress after testing it.

“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,” the team said in a statement. “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.

“At present, Serge has yet to complete a full basketball workout, but is walking and doing light basketball drills. With this new information, and in an effort to keep his status current, we are now listing him as day-to-day with the understanding that there is a possibility for him to play in this series.”

The Spurs lead the best-of-7 series 2-0. Game 3 is Sunday in Oklahoma City.

Ibaka is averaging 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots in 13 postseason games.

Ibaka also led the NBA in blocks during the regular season for the fourth straight season with 219 and averaged a career-high 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds.

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