HORNING: So much on the line for Thunder in first round

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki

Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, left, reaches up to block a shot by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George (13) as George shoots between Tucker and James Harden (13) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, April 9, 2019, in Oklahoma City.

Perhaps Paul George’s and Russell Westbrook’s struggles have come into greater light.

According to a story from ESPN, one that cited “league sources,” dually bylined by Adrian Wojnarowski and Royce Young, the issues faced by each down the stretch of the season will require at least four different medical procedures, three of which have already occurred, two of which were completed on Tuesday.

The details of ESPN’s story were later confirmed and expanded upon by the Thunder, via press release, delivered to media a few minutes after 5 p.m. Tuesday.

George, the Thunder forward who remained in the league MVP discussion through the All-Star break, underwent rotator cuff surgery to repair a partially torn tendon in his right shoulder on Tuesday.

According to the Thunder, the “elective” procedure repaired “a partial thickness supraspinatus tendon tear.”

Additionally, Westbrook, the Oklahoma City point guard who just completed his third straight season-long triple-double, underwent “successful surgery to repair a ligament on the fourth metacarpophalangeal joint (MCP) of his left hand.”

According to ESPN, Westbrook underwent that procedure prior to Tuesday. However, on Tuesday, he underwent a minor procedure, “described as proactive maintenance,” which will still “allow him time to still have an aggressive summer of preparation for next season.”

The Thunder reported in their release that Westbrook is expecting “to return to full basketball activities in approximately three weeks.”

George must still undergo a second procedure on his left shoulder, which also suffered a labrum tear during the season. Neither ESPN nor the Thunder reported when that procedure will take place, yet both reported that it will.

George is expected to miss at least a portion of preseason training camp as a result of his procedures. 

If that prognosis proves correct, it will mark the second straight preseason in which George or Westbrook continued to recover from off-season procedures as training camp began.

Westbrook missed all of training camp last preseason, as well as the first four games of the regular season, due to a late summer procedure on the same right knee.