The Oklahoma City Thunder will enter the Western Conference finals next week against the San Antonio Spurs a man down.
Forward Serge Ibaka is expected to sit out the remainder of the NBA playoffs after suffering a calf injury during the third quarter of the Thunder’s series-clinching win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night in Los Angeles.
Ibaka underwent an MRI on Friday on his left calf that confirmed the injury. He was averaging 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots in 13 postseason games.
Ibaka also led the league in blocks during the regular season for the fourth straight time with 219 and had averaged a career-high 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds.
His loss will be a blow to a team that has struggled at times in the playoffs for scorers other than NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant and guard Russell Westbrook.
“We are obviously disappointed for Serge, as he is a tremendous competitor, and we know how badly he wants to be on the court with his teammates,” Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti said.
“At this point, it is important that our team directs its concentration and energy towards preparation and execution for our upcoming series. As with all teams, our group has confronted different challenges. It is our collective experience that we will call on to ensure that we play to our capabilities.”
Game 1 is set for Monday night between the Thunder and Spurs.
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