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Serge Ibaka out for the rest of the post-season

A left calf injury will sideline the Congolese-born Spanish power forward for the rest of the playoffs

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Per the Thunder's official Twitter account:

This is a huge blow to OKC's championship aspirations. Here's what Thunder executive vice president Sam Presti had to say:

We are obviously disappointed for Serge, as he is a tremendous competitor, and we know how badly he wants to be on the court with his teammates. At this point it is important that our team directs its concentration and energy towards preparation and execution for our upcoming series. As with all teams, our group has confronted different challenges. It is our collective experience that we will call on to ensure that we play to our capabilities.

Ibaka was averaging over 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks during the playoffs and was arguably the defensive bedrock of the Thunder. A perennial defensive player of the year contender, the athletic power forward was one of the most disruptive presences around the rim.

It doesn't mean the Thunder will now be an easy out -- they still have Durant and Westbrook, after all, along with a solid stable of reserve bigs featuring Nick Collison and Steven Adams. But their defensive potential was severely diminished by this unfortunate situation. Expect a lot of Durant at power forward in the conference finals against the Spurs but without the safety net one of the league's best rim protectors provided.