Much of the buzz around the Oklahoma City Thunder has been about Kevin Durant's return.
Serge Ibaka's comeback is nearly as important. The three-time member of the All-Defense first team and two-time league blocks leader missed the final month last season while recovering from knee surgery and, without him, Oklahoma City's defense tanked.
In 64 games with Ibaka, the Thunder allowed 99.9 points per game. In 18 games without him, Oklahoma City surrendered 108.3 points. The Thunder went 10-8 during that final stretch and missed the playoffs.
Now the 6-foot-10 power forward who Durant calls the key to their success has been cleared to play. Thunder general manager Sam Presti says Ibaka might not play every preseason game, but that's normal for the top players.
(Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)