The Houston Rockets will have to learn how to live life without third-year center Clint Capela. Wednesday the team announced that Capela would be re-evaluated in four weeks after suffering a small fracture of his fibula.
"You hate to lose anybody, especially him in his development, being 23 years old," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I'm sure he hates to be out, but you know it gives opportunities to other guys and we'll just have to step up and try and fill the hole as best we can."
In the meantime, D'Antoni said expect for Nene and Montrezl Harrell to have expanded minutes with even Ryan Anderson getting some time at the five depending on lineups.
"We have enough to hold the fort till he gets back," D'Antoni said.
The offense won't change very much without Capela: the pick and rolls that James Harden is so effective at won't disappear just because someone went down.
"Our bigs are pretty similar as far as being smart and knowing where to be, know how to screen, know what their role is. Nothing changed," James Harden said.
The problem with Capela out will be on the defensive end.
Neither Nene nor Harrell are considered great rim protectors and while Capela was not an elite defender either, he did make people think twice when they penetrated the lane because of his shot-blocking ability. Capela only allows opponents to convert 46.6% of their shots. The Rockets will have to hang on tough on the perimeter.
Nene will have to use all the tricks he's learned throughout his decade-plus of basketball, and Harrell will have to continue using his energy to outhustle people. The two together can go a long way in making the team not miss Capela on the court... if they can elevate their game.
The Rockets have rested Nene plenty, and Harrell has shown major flashes when he's been called on. The two are pretty fresh in terms of overall use this year, and they are both ready for their increased role.
Barring no setbacks, the Rockets will be looking being without Capela for at least 14 games.
The theme of the Rockets this year has been everyone playing their roles and we'll be just fine. But that doesn’t mean Daryl Morey won’t explore his options.