San Antonio Spurs skeptical that Serge Ibaka of Oklahoma City Thunder will miss Western Conference finals - ESPN
Oklahoma City Thunder power forward Serge Ibaka is expected to miss the rest of the postseason, but the San Antonio Spurs are suspending belief heading into Game 1 of their Western Conference finals showdown on Monday.
Ibaka suffered a left calf injury -- a Grade 2 strain of the plantaris -- in Oklahoma City's series-clinching win Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. The injury takes time to heal and strengthen because of a high reinjury rate.
But the Spurs remain skeptical.
"I don't really believe it," point guard Tony Parker told reporters Sunday. "I'll believe when I see tomorrow he is not on the court. It's hard to believe. We'll see."
Added Kawhi Leonard: "We're still not sure if he's going to play or not, but it doesn't matter."
Ibaka averaged 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 13 playoff games. During the regular season, he notched career highs with 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game while leading the league in total blocks for the fourth consecutive season with 219.
Oklahoma City swept its four regular-season meetings with the Spurs, who went 62-16 against the rest of the league for the NBA's best record this season.
"It's really a waste of time," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich told the San Antonio Express News. "When the game starts, everybody will know what's going on and everybody will adjust both ways."
The Spurs, meanwhile, received some good news on the injury front as Parker, who suffered a strained hamstring in the second round, said the injury "feels better" and he's still on track to play in Monday's game against Oklahoma City.
ESPN.com's Marc Stein and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
I think he's going to be a star. And as time goes on, he'll be the face of the Spurs, I think.--- Coach Pop on Leonard
Let's not forget that there are former Spurs personnel in the OKC franchise and were in some way or the other linked with our CIA Pop and exposed to his 'straightforward' attitude with the press.
Light travels faster than sound; this is why some people appear bright until they speak.
It was interesting to me how quickly they announced he was just done for the playoffs. Not out for at least a few games, not out for the WCF, just done.
I have a hard time imagining they put him out for the playoffs and then he's ready in a week. I would figure if you want to get the most psych value out of it, you say he's out for the WCF and then have the carrot for OKC like, guys if we can just get past the Spurs we will have Ibaka back for the Finals!
That said, I have a hard time imagining if it's just a calf strain how he wouldn't be back by Game 3. That's a fairly long time for a muscle strain injury.
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