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 OKC takes on surging Los Angeles group It’s official: Russell Westbrook is the first NBAer since Oscar Robertson to average a triple-double in the first half of a season. But will the multifaceted...
Thumbnail Jazz vs. Suns Prediction Are the Utah Jazz a good bet to cover tonight as a road favorite versus the Phoenix Suns at 9:00PM ET?
Thumbnail Hornets vs. Celtics Prediction The Celtics are 5-point home favorites versus the Hornets on Monday night - will Boston cover when the teams tip-off at 7:30PM ET?
Thumbnail Hawks vs. Knicks Prediction The Knicks are a small home underdog versus the Hawks today at 1:00PM ET. Will New York cover the spread?
Thumbnail Hosts seek redemption after holiday collapse Despite the best efforts of Kevin Durant, Golden State suffered a gut-wrenching loss to Cleveland on Christmas. But is tonight’s rematch bound to produce...

NBA Team Pages