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Rockets star Russell Westbrook takes step toward returning from injury

Russell Westbrook, Rockets

Houston Rockets superstar point guard Russell Westbrook may not play in Game 3 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, but it appears he’s getting closer to making his return.

Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters on Friday that Westbrook is planning to get on the court to do some running and drills. The former MVP is recovering from a quad injury that kept him out of Games 1 and 2 of the Thunder series, per Royce Young of ESPN.

The Rockets are up 2-0 on the Thunder. Houston might as well play it safe with Russell Westbrook after winning Games 1 and 2 fairly easily without him. The Rockets star has stayed involved with the team while on the sidelines.

The Rockets will face the Los Angeles Lakers or Portland Trail Blazers in the second round of the playoffs assuming they finish the Thunder off. Houston is going to need Westbrook against the Lakers or Blazers, so the team would be wise to rest the former Thunder star as much as possible until they really need him.

Westbrook appeared in 57 games during the regular season for the Rockets. He averaged 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.0 assists while shooting 47.2 percent from the field, 25.8 percent from beyond the arc and 76.3 percent from the free-throw line.

In four seeding games at Walt Disney World, Westbrook put up 24.3 points, 6.3 boards and 7.8 assists in 36.2 minutes per contest. In hindsight, the Rockets may have played Westbrook too much in the seeding games.