Charlotte, N.C.: Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee Friday but will miss about the next two months of the NBA season.
Over 25 games this season, Westbrook has averaged 21.3 points, six rebounds and a team-high seven assists for Oklahoma City.
His play helped ease the pressure opposing defenses could bring against Kevin Durant, the NBA scoring leader at 28.1 points a game, and his absence will put more pressure onto Durant and Westbrook`s likely replacement, reserve Reggie Jackson.
Thunder executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti announced that Westbrook is not expected to return until after the NBA All-Star Game on February 16 at New Orleans.
"The consulting physician determined that arthroscopic surgery was necessary to address the swelling that was taking place," said Presti.
That made the third procedure upon Westbrook`s right knee this year, a major concern for the Thunder as the star playmaker will be difficult to replace in the lineup.
"We know Russell`s work ethic and commitment will help him return to the level of play that we have all come to appreciate," Presti said.
Westbrook figures to miss at least 27 games over the next two months for the Thunder, who could match Portland for the NBA`s best record at 24-5 with a victory Friday at Charlotte.