(Reuters) - The struggling Oklahoma City Thunder gained a massive boost with their All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook set to make his return from injury against the New York Knicks on Friday.
Westbrook, 26, has been sidelined since he broke a bone in his right hand against the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 30 missing 14 games.
“It feels great,” the three-time All-Star told reporters about his scheduled return against the Knicks in Oklahoma City. “I am rested, happy to be back and to go out and try to get a win.”
With Westbrook having been re-evaluated and cleared to play with a protective brace, Reggie Jackson will return to his former backup role.
“Rather not wear it, but it’s cool,” Westbrook said of his brace. “I‘m just going to play regular. I may have more touch with my left hand now, but I‘m not just going to try something (crazy).”
The injury-hit Thunder, who were beaten by the eventual NBA champion San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals last season, have made a dismal 4-12 start to their 2014-15 campaign.
Apart from Westbrook missing 14 games, they have also been without reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Kevin Durant, who had surgery five weeks ago after breaking his right foot before the season began.
Reporting by Mark Lamport-Stokes in Los Angeles; Editing by Steve Keating