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

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Pelicans vs. Jazz Prediction Are the Pelicans a good underdog play tonight against the Jazz at 10:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Grizzlies vs. Kings Prediction The Grizzlies have been a great bet against the Kings in recent meetings but will they cash for bettors tonight at 10:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Thunder vs. Mavericks Prediction Is the over/under total set too high in tonight's Thunder and Mavericks matchup at 8:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Cavs vs. Spurs Prediction Tonight's marquee matchup in the NBA tips off at 8:00PM ET when the Spurs host the Cavs. Will San Antonio cover as a home favorite?
Thumbnail Pistons vs. Knicks Prediction Are the Knicks a good bet to cover the spread tonight when they host the Pistons at 7:30PM ET?

NBA Team Pages