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Report: Rockets star Russell Westbrook will play in Game 5 vs. Thunder

Rockets, Russell Westbrook, James Harden

Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook will return to the lineup for a crucial Game 5 against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, according to The Athletic’s Kelly Iko.

ESPN reported earlier Friday morning that Westbrook tested out his injured quad in an intrasquad scrimmage on Thursday and “looked as explosive as ever.”

Westbrook was upgraded to questionable ahead of the originally scheduled Game 5 on Wednesday, and Iko reports that he was likely going to be able to play. However, the game was postponed due to the NBA players going on strike, which gave the star point guard even more time to heal up and test out his quad.

Westbrook has been dealing with a quad injury since the seeding games in the bubble. Even without his services on the court, the Rockets are tied with the Thunder in their first-round series at two games apiece, though Houston has lost two games in a row after going up 2-0.

In his 57 regular-season appearances this season, Westbrook racked up averages of 27.2 points on 47.2 percent shooting from the field (25.8 percent from beyond the arc), 7.9 rebounds 7.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 35.9 minutes per outing.

With Russell Westbrook coming back, players like James Harden and Eric Gordon could see their usage rates drop a bit. Regardless, his return will be a lift on both ends of the floor for Houston. They’ll need it, as Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder have been surging for the Thunder.

The NBA hasn’t officially announced the exact details of when Rockets vs. Thunder Game 5 will take place, but it will be on Saturday.