ESPN analyst Jalen Rose explains the nature of Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook’s quadriceps injury, and how it will affect him.
The Houston Rockets will look much different when they take the court on Friday against the Philadelphia 76ers, as they’ll be without former MVP Russell Westbrook. Westbrook suffered a quadriceps injury, which puts his status in limbo for the Rockets’ opening postseason series against the Oklahoma City Thunder, his former team.
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni anticipated having a fully healthy group for Friday’s game and hoped to use the Rockets’ final game of the 2019-20 regular season to offer a glimpse of where they are heading into the playoffs.
D'Antoni: "I feel relatively good with where we are and what we can do. And again, I'm looking forward to Friday to try to put all the pieces together."
— Anthony Duckett (@a_duckett) August 11, 2020
Westbrook has already been ruled out for Friday’s game, which will obviously put a damper in D’Antoni’s plans. There have been questions regarding why Westbrook played in the Rockets’ contest against the San Antonio Spurs, as Westbrook was ruled out of the Rockets’ previous two games against the Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings due to a quadriceps injury.
It’s been estimated that Westbrook’s injury could keep him sidelined for 1-2 weeks, which could at least keep him out of the first three games of the Rockets’ opening series against the Thunder, if true. One thing that’s gone in the Rockets’ favor is the postseason schedule, as the opening game of the series against the Thunder doesn’t take place until Tuesday, August 18th.
ESPN analyst Jalen Rose was on the Jalen and Jacoby show and explained the nature of Westbrook’s injury and how it will affect his game moving forward.
ESPN’s Jalen Rose explains nature of Rockets’ Russell Westbrook’s injury
“I hate this for Russ, because along with Derrick Rose, I believe those are the two most athletic point guards I’ve ever seen in the NBA and in their primes. That stop-and-go and that explosion that he plays with is unmatched. So having a quad injury, that’s not a bone, it’s a muscle, which means you can’t necessarily control when it’s going to get well.
But also, how much it’s going to affect a player like Russell, because he’s so very dynamic. So it’s going to be interesting to see how long this keeps him out. It doesn’t bode well for him finishing at the hoop or above the rim, and definitely not his 3-point shot, because he shoots it like he shot out of a cannon. If you don’t have that lift on your quad, it will affect your percentages.”
A simple scroll through Rockets Twitter would lead one to believe that the Rockets’ series against the Thunder is already over and that the Rockets will be sent packing due to the injury, but one can’t forget the depth the Rockets have, thanks to Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
The Rockets will be leaning on a trio of guards to replace Westbrook’s productivity, including Austin Rivers, Eric Gordon, and Ben McLemore. This is certainly promising, as each player has proven the ability to contribute for the Rockets in their own way.
Rivers recently exploded for 41 points, which is a career-high, and helped the Rockets secure a victory over the Sacramento Kings without Westbrook. McLemore was shooting 39.5 percent from long-range at the time the league was suspended, and ranked 23rd in made triples, despite being a reserve.
McLemore followed that up with an even better shooting display in Orlando, the site of the NBA’s bubble, as he’s made 44 percent of his treys there. We all know what Gordon can do, as he was the Rockets’ second-leading scorer during the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals series against the Golden State Warriors.
Gordon also displayed his ability to single-handedly carry the Rockets to victory earlier in the year, as he exploded against the Utah Jazz to the tune of 50 points, and helped the Rockets secure a victory without James Harden or Russell Westbrook.
With the guard depth the Houston Rockets have, they should be able to withstand the absence of Westbrook, and especially if it’s just for two or three games.