Not good news for the Houston Rockets as they head into a showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers tonight. Russell Westbrook, who was originally listed as questionable for tonight’s contest with a thigh contusion, is now likely to sit out according to a report from ESPN’s Tim McMahon.
Russell Westbrook (right quad contusion) remains listed as questionable on the official injury report, but a source said the Rockets anticipate he will sit out vs. Lakers tonight.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) August 6, 2020
That would obviously be a big blow to Houston’s chances tonight, as the new small ball approach was specifically designed to get Russ downhill and into space against some of these larger teams, forcing them to chase shooters around the perimeter or collapse onto Westbrook, opening up those shooters.
If the injury is nagging, it’s certainly best in the long term for Westbrook to get the rest he requires now so that he’s fully healthy for a playoff run, but as the Rockets fine tune things for the postseason, having everyone available, particularly against a premier opponent, is essential for re-building chemistry in such a short time.
It sounds like even if Russ does play, he’ll probably be limited, so shouldering the load is going to fall on James Harden’s shoulders. It may also open up some minutes to DeMarre Carroll or Luc Mbah a Moute coming off the bench, both of whom Mike D’Antoni has been reluctant to use so far. So maybe it’s not all bad.
Get well, Russ! We need you!