Report: Russell Westbrook expected to miss most of March

Peter Dewey
4 Min Read
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Clippers guard Russell Westbrook is expected to miss most of the month of March after he suffered a left hand fracture in the first half of Friday night’s game against the Washington Wizards, according to The Athletic’s Law Murray.

“The injury is expected to cost Westbrook most, if not all, of the month of March,” Murray wrote.

Westbrook appeared to injure his hand when attempting to strip the ball from Wizards guard Jordan Poole in Friday’s game.

It’s a tough blow for the Clippers, as the team relies on Westbrook to anchor its second unit with his explosiveness and playmaking on the offensive end.

This season, the former league MVP is averaging 11.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 26.8 percent from beyond the arc.

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue revealed that he’s not sure when the nine-time All-Star will be able to return to the tam’s rotation.

“(I) just feel bad for Russ right now,” Lue said. “You never want to see a player get hurt. Jordan Poole drove around and he tried to deflect from the back. I think he hit his elbow with his hand. We don’t know what timetable, don’t know if he needs surgery or anything yet, but he’s out right now. So just trying to figure it out.

“He’s going to stay engaged regardless. That’s just who he is. And so we need him around, we need his energy, we need his talking the way he leads and so until he is able to get back, we’re going to miss him. Hopefully it’s a speedy recovery and we get him back sooner than later, but I’m not sure the timetable right now.”

With Westbrook out for potentially the entire month of March, the Clippers will likely lean on Bones Hyland to play some minutes at the guard spot. Hyland had not played in a game for the Clippers since Jan. 31 before Westbrook went down.

The former first-round pick has now played in back-to-back contests for Los Angeles, although he did not score in the team’s win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. Hyland has not shot the ball well in limited action this season, shooting 34.6 percent from the field and 29.4 percent from 3-point range.

Losing Westbrook is a huge blow for the Clippers with the team looking to earn a top seed in the Western Conference this season. After beating Minnesota on Sunday, the Clippers are just 2.5 games out of the No. 1 spot in the West. The team holds the No. 4 spot entering its game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.

If Westbrook is able to return by the end of March or in early April, he should be able to help the Clippers in the postseason.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.