Russell Westbrook ‘participated in practice’ with his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates

Despite looking like a joystick, Westbrook is an elite basketball player.

Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks said Russell Westbrook practiced with the team on Monday.

Suffering a slight tear in his right meniscus, the 24-year-old Westbrook first underwent the knife on April 27 to repair the damaged joint.

Roughly five months later in October, Westbrook had arthroscopic surgery to alleviate swelling in his bummed knee and isn’t expected to return until mid-December.

“There were bits and pieces where Russell participated in practice, so that was good,” said Brooks, 48, the 2010 NBA Coach of the Year. “It was good to get everybody out there, working together.”

After losing the dynamic three-time All-NBA Second Team selection, the powerful Thunder (60-22) fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in five games in the conference semifinals.

Averaging 19.9 points, 6.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds since being taken fourth out of UCLA in 2008, Westbrook is a spectacular athlete, defender and playmaker.

Oklahoma City has won the Northwest Division title on three consecutive occasions and seemed poised to soon capture the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy.

However, it is extremely concerning that a standout sportsman has visited an operating room twice in such a short span of time.

Westbrook’s style is predicated off of explosiveness and slashing movements to the basket and this injury could slow the former Bruin.

Alongside Kevin Durant, rugged center Serge Ibaka and an overall solid supporting cast, a sturdy Westbrook is vital to Oklahoma City’s success.

Backed by the rowdiest home crowd in the association, a complete Thunder squad can dominate like the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs.

If Westbrook can entirely heal, Oklahoma City should again represent the Western Conference in June’s finals.

On the contrary, if Westbrook remains gimpy or even decelerated, the Thunder are nothing more than middling contenders.

Russell Westbrook’s right knee will ultimately determine if Thunder fans in “The 405” have a glorious, or unfulfilling, springtime.

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