OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Thunder coach Scott Brooks said forward Serge Ibaka will start Game 3 of the Western Conference finals Sunday night.
Ibaka has missed the first two games of the series against the San Antonio Spurs with a left calf strain. The Thunder had said he likely would miss the rest of the playoffs, but changed course Friday.
Ibaka said Sunday morning the pain started to subside in the past three days. He took part in the team's Sunday morning shootaround and later got positive feedback from the team's medical staff.
With Ibaka, the league's leading shot blocker, the Thunder were one of the best defensive teams in the NBA. Without him, San Antonio shot at least 50 percent in the first two games and won them by a combined 52 points. The Spurs have said all along that they expected him to return during the series.
Ibaka was glad to be out on the practice court in the shootaround, and he appreciates the fact that playing is even a possibility.
''It feels great,'' he said. ''The first time the doctors told me I would not be able to play in the playoffs, I cried. It was something that I wasn't really looking for. I always enjoy playing with my teammates and playing basketball.''
--
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: www.twitter.com/CliffBruntAP

Top NBA Public Bets

#2 849 Utah Jazz  81%
#5 841 Memphis Grizzlies  72%
#6 854 Chicago Bulls  67%
#7 848 Atlanta Hawks  67%
#8 845 Boston Celtics  62%
#9 858 Denver Nuggets  56%

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Warriors vs. Clippers Prediction Will the Warriors cover as double-digit home favorites versus the Clippers tonight when the two teams clash at 10:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Knicks vs. Cavs Prediction Will tonight's Knicks and Cavs matchup at 8:00PM ET be high-scoring for bettors?
Thumbnail Rockets vs. Pelicans Prediction Will tonight's Rockets and Pelicans matchup at 8:00PM ET fall under the betting total?
Thumbnail Hornets vs. Pistons Prediction The Pistons are listed as slight home favorites tonight versus the Hornets at 7:30PM ET. Will Detroit cover?
Thumbnail Struggling squads collide in Florida At 21-37, Orlando almost needs a miracle to claw back into postseason contention. Last Tuesday’s roster shakeup, though, verified that Frank Vogel’s crew isn’t...

NBA Team Pages