Russell Westbrook is set to miss the opening few games of the Houston Rockets’ first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a quadriceps injury.
Westbrook had missed three of the Rockets’ last four games with the problem, before an MRI scan on Wednesday confirmed the severity of the injury to his right leg.
The 31-year-old is out of the Rockets’ final seeding game against the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, and will miss the start of the postseason, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle.
The playoffs are set to begin on Monday, with the Rockets matched up against the Thunder, the team with which Westbrook spent the entirety of his NBA career before being traded to Houston last summer.
Westbrook’s only appearance in the Rockets’ last four games came in Tuesday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs, in which he scored 20 points and didn’t appear to have any trouble with the injury during or in the immediate aftermath of the game.
“We’ll see how he responds,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said after Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers. “We’ll just see next week.”
Westbrook’s absence on Wednesday on the second night of back-to-back games for the Rockets was in keeping with their strategy throughout the season, which has seen the 2017 MVP rested to maintain his conditioning.
After a slow start to the season, Westbrook found his form in a down-sized Rockets lineup to average 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 57 appearances.