Report: Multiple Rockets To Miss Time With Various Injuries

By Matthew Cardenas on October 25, 2018
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Hamstring injuries have been the enemy of the Rockets since the Western Conference Finals. After leaving Wednesday night's loss to the Utah Jazz with hamstring discomfort, it has now been reported that reigning MVP James Harden will miss the next two games with a Grade 1-Plus Hamstring stain. Harden left the game with five minutes remaining and finished with 29 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds on 10-19 shooting. The Rockets dropped to 1-3 on the season after the loss.

Harden missing time with the Rockets has been a rarity. He has played in 80+ games three of his six seasons with the organization, typically willing himself through some nagging injury at some point in the season. It has never been the case for Harden to leave in the middle of a game, especially one that was winnable on Wednesday night. There was reason to be concerned as he immediately headed to the locker room. Durability and availability come to mind when thinking of Harden, which has made him the franchise cornerstone. 

Injuries have not been kind to the Rockets to start the season. It was also reported today that James Ennis will miss the next two games, also suffering a hamstring injury. He was signed in the off-season and brought in to fill the void left by Trevor Ariza, who bolted for the Phoenix Suns. It was announced that 18-year big man Nene suffered a setback in his rehabilitation from a calf strain. He is expected to be re-evaluated in three to four weeks. 

Harden and Ennis will be re-evaluated after upcoming games against the Los Angeles Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers. With it being a Grade 2 strain for Ennis, you probably shouldn't expect expect him to play for the next couple of weeks. 

If there is any positive for the Rockets through this injury debacle, it's that Chris Paul will return from his two-game suspension Friday. It will be a depleted roster for the next few games, but Paul will take charge and lead the way. Expect to see Eric Gordon inserted into the starting lineup during Harden's absence. Gordon has been the go-to starter off the bench when one of the All-Star back-court is sidelined. 

One can hope the Rockets will eventually be at full health from top to bottom. Other off-season acquisitions such as Brandon Knight and Marquese Chriss, acquired via the Ryan Anderson trade, have yet to see the floor as they recover from injury. 

It is too difficult to make conclusions off the Rockets from the first four games due to current circumstances. We have yet to see the roster at full strength and clicking. Nonetheless, a 1-3 start is not ideal in a loaded Western Conference that has gotten even tougher. 

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