Russell Westbrook still hasn't indicated when he will return to the basketball court. But the Oklahoma City Thunder's star point guard vows he'll be better than ever when he does come back from knee surgery.
Westbrook, who suffered a torn meniscus in his knee this past April, has not been cleared to resume basketball activities. The 24-year-old Westbrook was confident when discussing his comeback Monday with The Oklahoman.
"I'm going to come back and be better," he told the newspaper.
Westbrook was injured in Game 2 of the Thunder's first-round series versus the Houston Rockets, which Oklahoma City eventually won in six games. He had surgery to repair the lateral meniscus in his right knee on April 27.
Thunder general manager Sam Presti said Westbrook will be a limited participant in the team's training camp, which starts Saturday, but acknowledged that the three-time All-Star still has work to do in his rehab.
"We expect him to take part in parts of camp and work his way through different parts until he's ultimately cleared for unrestricted activity," Presti said, according to The Oklahoman. "But it's all going to be contingent upon how his body reacts to the additional load that he'll be carrying.
"When he returns to play, he's not returning to play for that specific day. He's returning to play at a level for a very, very long time."
Westbrook said he spent the majority of the summer strengthening his leg either at the Thunder's training facility or independently with therapists.
"I tried taking it one day at a time and not [worry about] the timetable," Westbrook told the newspaper. "Just take it one day at a time and try to find a way to strengthen myself and make sure I'm ready to go when it's time."
Westbrook averaged 23.2 points and 7.4 assists last season for the Thunder, who finished with the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs. Oklahoma City clearly missed Westbrook's presence during its five-game postseason elimination by the Memphis Grizzlies in the conference semifinals.
Despite the serious nature of his knee injury, Westbrook insists he will not alter his playing style.
"Every season I try to come back and be a better player," Westbrook told the paper. "This season should be no different. I should try to come back and be a better player, better teammate and come back and try to win."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.