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Clint Capela expected to return today

The Rockets have a key player returning to the lineup for tonight’s contest.

NBA: Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Not a moment too soon, Rockets center Clint Capela is expected to return the starting lineup in tonight’s contest against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Already beset by injuries to starting point guard Chris Paul (who has since returned) and versatile bench wing Luc Mbah a Moute (who has not), the Rockets received a gut punch when they found out Capela would miss two games with a orbital fracture. Capela had just returned to the lineup after missing some time to a heel bruise, and the impact on the Houston defense and rim protection has been striking without him.

The Rockets are currently suffering through a five-game losing streak, and not having Capela to feature in the pick-and-roll offense has also been contributing to their struggles.

Capela’s having a breakout season, averaging 14.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game on a league-leading 69.1 percent shooting from the field. He also leads the league in Basketball Reference’s offensive rating at 130, which is defined as the points produced per 100 possessions.

He has, however, missed five games already this season due to injury after playing in only 65 last year, so getting more durable is certainly an opportunity area for the big man, especially with the Rockets counting on him more and more on both ends of the court.

It’ll be a pleasure to have him back tonight joining the also newly healthy Chris Paul. Though the Rockets do have some other sudden injury concerns, with James Harden now listed as questionable with the bruised right foot.

The Rockets will likely need all hands on deck to put this losing streak to bed, so hopefully we see The Beard tonight too.