The Rockets shared some distressing news on their Twitter account late last night:
Dwight Howard underwent an MRI today that revealed edema in his right knee. Howard will be evaluated further in the coming days.— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) January 29, 2015
Edema just means an excess of fluid causing swelling, so the part of that tweet that is most crucial is that Dwight "will be evaluated further." The cause of that swelling is the concern. The fact that this could potentially be Dwight's second major knee-related absence this year is a scary thought for the Rockets' playoff dreams.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Howard will not travel with the Rockets on their two-game road trip, so the earliest that he could be back is next Wednesday against the Bulls and their imposing Gasol-Noah front line.
However, that is a long shot at best. Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Dwight could be out a while, and is seeking a second opinion on his knee. "Second opinion" is a bad combination of words to hear together when you're talking about an injury to a star player.
So far, Dwight has missed two games with this injury, and in both games, Joey Dorsey has taken the start in his place. Apparently, Kevin McHale has grown comfortable with Donatas Motiejunas as his starting power forward. But with Terrence Jones back healthy (and not a moment too soon), one has to believe (or at least hope) that Dorsey won't have to play more than absolutely necessary.
We all know Donuts has a silky-smooth post game, and advanced metrics grade him as a good rim protector, so it makes almost too much sense to slide him into the five and have a still-solid T-Jones and Smoove rotation at the four.
Seriously, Terrence Jones' return could not have come at a better time, and with Boston, Detroit and MIlwaukee among the Rockets' next four opponents, the good guys should still be able to pick up some games with the big man gone.
Even more seriously, we will need Dwight to make any noise in the playoffs. Here's hoping the Rockets don't rush him back so that when he returns, he's back for good.