It may have looked like Congolese Serge Ibaka played his last NBA game over six months ago due to a right knee injury, but he is set to return to action next week.
The Oklahoma City Thunder (OKC) power forward, who underwent knee surgery, last played a game on 11 March as the Oklahoma City Thunder fell 120-118 to the Los Angeles Clippers at home.
The 26-year-old was expected to feature in the inaugural exhibition NBA Africa game in Johannesburg in August, but was not fit enough to do so as he has reportedly experienced some discomfort.
As the OKC prepare for their season opener next Tuesday, the team General Manager, Sam Presti, gave an update on Ibaka’s situation.
“Serge may have had the best summer of any of our players, as far as improvement of overall game,” Presti said.
“He’s had regular check-ups with his surgeon. The surgeon has continued to feel very confident and encourage him to continue to move and play. He’s fully cleared.
“You’re going to have some ups and downs. Where he is right now, he feels good. He looks great.”
The end of September is that time of the year in which NBA teams open their training camps.
And there is plenty of motivation from an African perspective as a number of Africa-born players are set to make their NBA debuts.
Emanuel Mudiay of the Democratic Republic of Congo is one of the top prospects to look at. The Denver Nuggets point guard, who was selected seventh in last June Draft, is expected to transform the Nuggets’ offensive game.
Then, Maurice Ndour (Senegal) and Salah Mejri (Tunisia) are also set to build their chances in the league.