The Houston Rockets have already dealt with numerous key injuries this season, and now Donatas Motiejunas will go on the shelf for one-to-two weeks because of a back injury:
Donatas Motiejunas was evaluated after having lower back pain, will be removed from basketball activities for 1 to 2 weeks & reevaluated.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) March 27, 2015
Terrence Jones, Patrick Beverley and Kostas Papanikolaou are all already out of the lineup. Jones is progressing after suffering a collapsed lung, but Beverley still might have to undergo surgery for ligament damage in his left wrist and Papanikolaou is out at least another week with a sprained ankle, according to Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle.
Dwight Howard just recently returned from a knee injury, but the Rockets are being cautious with that knee, and Howard won’t play both nights of the team’s upcoming back-to-back:
Dwight Howard won’t play both nights of upcoming back to back. The Rockets down to two bigs- Josh Smith and Joey Dorsey -when that happens.
— Jenny Dial Creech (@jennydialcreech) March 28, 2015
That’ll leave Houston very short-handed in the frontcourt, so expect plenty of small ball.
Friday night’s victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves was the first game Motiejunas had missed all season. The third-year forward has really come into his own this year, averaging 12.0 points and 5.9 rebounds while shooting 50.4 percent in 28.7 minutes per game. He has started 62 of the 71 games he has appeared in this season after starting just 17 games combined over his first two years in the league.
Even despite all the injuries, Houston is just a half-game behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. You can thank James Harden for that.