In a big blow to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s chance to win the NBA title, Serge Ibaka was diagnosed with a serious left calf injury that will cause him to miss the remainder of the 2014 NBA Playoffs.
Ibaka’s injury happened in Game 6 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Los Angeles Clippers.
“We are obviously disappointed for Serge, as he is a tremendous competitor, and we know how badly he wants to be on the court with his teammates,” said Sam Presti, general manager of the Thunder, in an official statement from the team.
“At this point it is important that our team directs its concentration and energy towards preparation and execution for our upcoming series. As with all teams, our group has confronted different challenges. It is our collective experience that we will call on to ensure that we play to our capabilities.”
The Thunder did win against the Clippers, 104-98 to advance to the West Finals and had good contributions from back-up bigs Steven Adams (10 points and 11 rebounds in 40 minutes) and Nick Collison (4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot in 17 minutes)
In lieu of Ibaka, the pair along with veteran center Kendrick Perkins is expected to get the bulk of the minutes against the San Antonio Spurs, who will have Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw in the frontcourt in the best-of-seven series which starts on Monday evening (Tuesday morning in Australia).
The Spurs own homecourt advantage in this series but the Thunder have dominated the regular season with four wins in four games against San Antonio.