(Photo: Reuters/Jeff Haynes)
Serge Ibaka, power forward for the Oklahoma City Thunder, has attributed his surprising recovery from a recent calf injury to God, his family, and the healing power of ice.
Ibaka, who played in the team's Game 3 for the Western Conference finals against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, was first thought to be out of the season when he injured his calf in the Game 6 win against the Los Angeles Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals.
The power forward played an exceptional game on Sunday, giving the Thunder a 106 to 97 victory. The 6-foot-10 star player scored 15 points, recovered seven rebounds, and made four blocks in his impressive return to the court. Ibaka also played against the Spurs in Tuesday's game, which the Thunder won 105 to 92.
In a recent interview, Ibaka told USA Today that he attributes his swift recovery and successful come-back game to God, miracles, ice, and the help of his sister and girlfriend.
"I believe in God, and I believe in miracles, and I believe that everything is possible," Ibaka told USA Today. "When I did the MRI (on the calf), and the MRI showed us that I was really bleeding a lot, but I said, 'I just want to keep believing, man.'"
On Twitter, Ibaka has retweeted a message from his girlfriend, R&B artist Keri Hilson, who explained in her tweet that "God & ice" had been the forces behind her significant other's quick, ten-day recovery from the calf strain.
Hilson also added to USA Today that she and Ibaka's sister, Rachina, both served as the NBA star's nurses during his brief recovery time. "[Rachina] was as much his nurse as I was. She cooks. I do the TLC and cook a little bit. We had to be there for him."
Ibaka's faith in God is evident in his interviews, and he is not the only Oklahoma City Thunder player to openly express their Christian faith. Kevin Durant, who also plays as a power forward for the team, expressed how important his faith is to him when he received the NBA's Most Valuable Player award earlier in May.
"[…] I'd like to thank God for changing my life [and] letting me really realize what life is all about. Basketball is just a platform in order for me to inspire people, and I realize that," Durant said in between tears when he accepted the award at a reception event in Oklahoma.
The Oklahoma City Thunder have currently tied the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference finals, winning two out of four games.