Time to Schein: The Rockets will be dominant despite Russell Westbrook testing positive for COVID-19
After going months without playing real games, NBA teams needed a few tune-up contests inside the bubble. But as much as the scrimmages were necessary for players to find their rhythm and get back into ‘game shape’, there’s always a worry about players getting injured in meaningless games.
Unfortunately, that fear became reality for the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. In their third and final scrimmage, Eric Gordon had to be carried off the floor after injuring his ankle. The good news is that X-Rays on Gordon’s ankle came back negative, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Late in the second quarter, Gordon jumped up to throw a pass, and came down on the foot of Boston Celtics big man Vincent Poirier. His ankle rolled pretty badly, and he stayed down on the floor for a lengthy period of time. Eventually, he was helped to his feet, but had to be helped by his teammates as he hobbled off the floor.
It’s great news that X-rays came back negative, and head coach Mike D’Antoni said he expects Gordon to be out “a few days.” If that’s the case, that would be pretty much the best case scenario give how it looked. Especially since there’s no extra time at this point. Their first seeding game is on Friday, and the playoffs start in about three weeks.
Still any games he misses at this point are going to be important. The Rockets are going to make the playoffs — they’re currently tied for fifth place in the Western Conference with the Oklahoma City Thunder — but they will be fighting for seeding over these eight games.
Gordon has only played 34 games this season due to knee problems, but was finally healthy heading into the restart. To go down in the final scrimmage is a tough blow for him and the Rockets. Even though he was shooting just 31.9 percent from 3-point land this season, his range and shot creation are expected to be vital in Houston’s small-ball attack.