Despite reports earlier in the week that Oklahoma City Thunder big man Serge Ibaka would miss the remainder of the 2014 NBA Playoffs, there are new reports that suggest just the opposite. According to reports, Ibaka’s calf strain has “rapidly progressed” to the point where he is now taking part in light basketball drills.

Ibaka had previously ruled himself out for the Western Conference Finals series with the San Antonio Spurs, and the power forward was widely expected to sit out the rest of this year’s playoffs, altogether. However, his calf has healed much quicker than anyone could have hoped, and instead of being written off for this playoff run, he is now being regarded as “day to day”.

This news still doesn’t mean Ibaka is a lock to play in game three or at any point in this series for the Thunder, but it at leasts gives the team and their fanbase some realistic hope.

Ibaka’s presence has certainly been missed to this point, as a normally stout OKC defense has been ravaged on the road through town games. San Antonio is naturally going to be more efficient at home, but they’ve had very little trouble working their way inside the paint via Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw.

Ibaka was initially looked at as the difference-maker in this series, as his presence as a physical body and shot-blocker has given the San Antonio big men problems in the past.

If the Thunder are going to pull off a miracle and come back from a 2-0 hole, they’ll almost certainly need Ibaka to return in their game three in Oklahoma City. The San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder square off again in Oklahoma City on Sunday, May 25th.

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