Houston Rockets: Clint Capela could return immediately after All-Star break

By Tevin Williams
Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Clint Capela #15 of the Houston Rockets (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Houston Rockets are optimistic that Clint Capela will return following the All-Star break after missing the last 15 games with a thumb injury.

The Houston Rockets have dealt with injuries to core players like Chris Paul and Eric Gordon throughout the entire season. As the team inched closer to full health, Clint Capela injured his thumb while attempting to finish a lob from James Harden.

X-rays later revealed that Capela suffered ligament damage in his right thumb and that he would miss the next four to six weeks. Capela suffered the injury back on Jan. 13 and his recovery process has gone according to plan.

Mike D’Antoni told the Houston Chronicle’s Jonathan Feigen that Houston’s game against Minnesota on Wednesday was probably the team’s last without their starting center, but admitted that Capela’s official status won’t be determined until he practices with the team.

“He’s doing everything without contact. I guess those two practices will determine whether he will play the first game or not.”

The Rockets have played the last 15 games without Capela, winning six. After Capela’s injury, Houston had very little depth at center, as Nene rarely plays more than 20 minutes per game, even when he starts.

Fortunately, the Rockets were able to pickup Kenneth Faried after he was released from the Brooklyn Nets. Faried’s move from power forward to center has revitalized his career, as he has averaged 15.9 points and 10.3 rebounds over his first 12 games as a Rocket. Faried had definitely earned a spot on this roster and will likely serve as a backup center once Capela returns.

Clint Capela has averaged 17.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game this season. While Faried has been stellar, Houston has missed Capela’s shot blocking presence, elite perimeter defense for a center and his offensive rebounding.

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With Capela back, the Rockets should be able to make a push in the last 25 games and move up a few spots in the conference standings. The Rockets will have to bring their A-game after the festivities in Charlotte, because they will take on the Lakers at Staples Center before flying north to the Bay Area for a battle with the Warriors.