The Rockets have been playing shorthanded for a while now and doing it well, going 7-1 in the eight games they’ve played since Chris Paul went down with a hamstring injury back in December. They’re 3-1 with wins over Golden State and Denver since Eric Gordon went down with a bruised knee.
That doesn’t mean that the Rockets couldn’t use these guys back as soon as possible, but according to reports, it doesn’t appear that either player will be setting foot back on the hardwood anytime soon.
Gordon is the closest to returning, with some speculation he could return early next week after a re-evaluation, but Gordon himself didn’t sound too positive about the injury when speaking to the Houston Chronicle:
“I haven’t been able to run or anything yet. It depends on how I feel, but over the last day or two it really started in the right direction. I’ll have a better answer in the next few days.”
If Gordon’s not even running yet, a Monday of next week return does sound a bit ambitious, so we’ll just have to be patient until the end of this week for more information.
Coach D’Antoni said Eric Gordon will be reevaluated “at the end of the week”. Doesn’t mean he’ll be back then. #Rockets— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) January 7, 2019
As for Paul, he’s going to be out even longer, with Mike D’Antoni telling the Chron the most realistic timetable has CP3 returning at the end of January. That’s at least another 3-4 weeks yet that the Rockets will be running at less than full strength.
Thankfully, James Harden continues to carry the team in as dominant a stretch of basketball as we’ve seen from him, Clint Capela has officially entered beast mode, and the ancillary players, like Austin Rivers, Gerald Green, and Danuel House, continue to step up when needed.
That’s certain to pay dividends down the line and heading into the postseason, as the trust being built now means the Rockets will have a full cadre of guys they know they can call upon. And with the team winning, there’s no need to rush back either player.
You want to be 100 percent in April and May, it’s not as important in January. Still, you’d like to see EG and CP3 knocking the rust off of previously creaky shooting from earlier in the year, but it sounds like we’re just going to have to wait it out.
As always, we’ll update you here at TDS when there’s more info on either player.