Patrick Beverley has missed 12 of the Houston Rockets' 19 games this year with a hamstring injury. He won't miss their 20th.
The dynamic defensive player is likely to be brought back slowly, since the last seven games he's sat out were the third stretch of games he's missed this year, all from the same injury. He shouldn't play more than 25 minutes tonight.
That brings us to tonight. The Rockets desperately just need bodies at this point. Big Papa is out for at least a week with a sprained knee. Dwight Howard is still recovering from platelet-rich plasma therapy that appears to have only made matters worse for his injury. Who knows if Terrence Jones can even feel his legs? And Isaiah Canaan's ankle's swelling might not have gone down yet.
The Rockets are 6-1 in the seven games Beverley has missed, so it's hard to say they've missed him as much as I'm sure he's missed playing. But it's going to be good to see The Berserker giving Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe problems tonight.
In the long term, this likely means Nick Johnson is headed back to the RGV sometime soon. He'll be around for a few games to make sure all is well with Beverley's hamstring. But if Beverley is back for good, The Rockets seem fine going with a guard rotation of Bev, James Harden, Jason Terry and Francisco Garcia and getting Johnson tons of reps in Hidalgo.
Let's talk briefly about Jason Terry. He's averaging 17.7 points over the Rockets last three games -- all victories -- and he looks great initiating offense. He's been getting into the lane (amazingly), hitting shots and facilitating for James Harden and the rest of the team. He's been waaaayyyy better than any of us could have pictured.
I think Beverley should go in the starting lineup for defensive purposes, but Terry should get more minutes. The Berserker doesn't know how to play any way other than 100 percent, which means the only way to ease him back from his hamstring injury is to limit his playing time. My hope is he plays no more than 20 minutes unless Terry struggles mightily or gets in foul trouble.
What are you expecting from Bev tonight?