At 2:36 p.m. CT, Donatas Motiejunas broke the second-biggest news story of the Rockets season so far (sorry, coach McHale), announcing he's cleared to play basketball:
Although it's a little vague — he's participated in shootarounds so far, but not much full activity — so it might not be the case that he's returning for tomorrow night's game against the Pelicans, but no matter what, this tweet brought serious joy to my cold, lifeless heart.
Donuts had back surgery late in the regular season last year and has spent months recovering, building strength in both his back and his legs so he's not overcompensating, therefore opening himself up to other injuries, when he resumes play. He's been posting some pretty dope workout videos while he recovers, too.
But most importantly, this is a shot in the arm the moribund Rockets need. They're 7-11 and they could easily be 4-14. They've already fired their head coach, but nothing seems to be working to inject life into the defense and effort and focus into the offense. They're lost.
Last year, when the Rockets were floating along with half their roster hurt, it was James Harden and Donuts carrying this team to win after improbably win. Harden is nowhere near the player he was last year — he's less efficient on offense and downright destructive on defense, and not in a good way — but with Donuts, hope springs eternal.
When on, he's a lethal 1-on-1 scorer in the post and a decent rim protector. He also solves the problem of having to play Terrence Jones if Playoff Jones shows up again.
Whenever you actually put on the jersey, hopefully it's tomorrow night, welcome back Donuts. Man, have we missed you.
UPDATE: Feigen reports he's cleared for practice. So not coming back tomorrow. Still tho