Serge Ibaka was lost for the season with a knee injury back in March which required surgery. At the time, the Thunder were still fighting for a playoff spot, so there was a timetable of 4-6 weeks set for his return initially.

But here we are in August, and Ibaka is not yet cleared to return to action -- at least not to play in an exhibition contest the NBA is putting on in Africa.

Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports:

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"Thunder big man Serge Ibaka is in Johannesburg, S. Africa for Game on Saturday, but he has not been cleared to play, sources said."

"To clarify, NBA Africa organizers hoped Serge Ibaka (knee) would be cleared to play Saturday but he will only attend. Signs good for OKC camp."

Players will tend to try to rush back if the playoffs are at stake, but risking further damage to appear in an exhibition contest simply seems unnecessary. Ibaka and the Thunder are clearly making the wise decision.