Well, the injury woes of the Houston Rockets just reared their ugly head once again. After falling awkwardly early in yesterday’s win over the Phoenix Suns, forward Trevor Ariza was diagnosed with a hamstring strain and will miss at least the next five games for the Rockets.
D'Antoni expects Ariza to miss the upcoming four-game road trip in addition to tomorrow vs. Magic.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) January 29, 2018
The Rockets have been dealing with injuries to their starting lineup all season, with Ariza, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, and James Harden all missing time at various points throughout the year. In fact, that starting group, which also includes Ryan Anderson, has only played together in 17 games on the year out of 48 overall contests.
When all healthy, they’ve been almost unbeatable, going 16-1, but it’s getting everyone on the court and keeping them there that’s been the problem.
In addition to the injuries to the starters, the Rockets have also dealt with injuries to main bench players Nene and Luc Mbah a Moute this season, so it’s been a plethora of issues cropping up, one after another.
Expect Mbah a Moute to eat up many of Ariza’s minutes, and also expect Gerald Green to pick up some additional time. Mbah a Moute played 32 minutes on Sunday, and his three-and-D skill set matches up best with what the Rockets will miss without Ariza, so I’d expect to see him start in Trevor’s stead.
Green has shown he can fill it up quickly when needed, so he’ll likely be the microwave guy off the bench. He had 8 points in 18 minutes on Sunday, including 2 threes, and he proved his scoring chops earlier in the year by putting up double-digit points in 9 straight games, including scoring 29 points against the Golden State Warriors and 27 against the Orlando Magic.
He lacks Ariza’s defense, however, which is why he’ll be best suited in a bench role while Mbah a Moute steps into the starting lineup.
Ariza’s a tough piece to lose, but thankfully, the Rockets finally have the depth this season to absorb the hit for a short while.
The Rockets are also dealing with a slight injury to Paul. According to the Houston Chronicle, he left Sunday’s game with soreness in his groin. It doesn’t appear serious, however, and he expects to be ready for Tuesday’s game against the Magic.