When Houston Rockets star big man Christian Wood went down with an injury during the Rockets’ recent game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Rockets fans collectively gasped for air, and rightfully so. For one, Wood is in the midst of an All-Star season, in which he’s the only player in the league that is averaging at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, while also posting a field goal percentage of 50 percent and long-range shooting splits of at least 40 percent (42.9 percent, to be exact).
The other reason is because Wood’s injury looked grotesque, as his foot turned after stepping on Grizzlies star Ja Morant’s foot. The Rockets had an MRI for Wood the following morning, and it was determined that he suffered an ankle sprain, and would be out for an undetermined amount of time, as the Rockets stated that he would be re-evaluated weekly.
Why the Houston Rockets should be worried about Christian Wood’s injury
The timetable that was given by Houston sports medicine physical therapist Okeezie (@OkeezieSportsPT on Twitter) was 2-4 weeks, with the high probability that it could fall on the higher end of the spectrum. On Sunday, Dr. Rajpal Brar of 3CB performance in Los Angeles (@3cbPerformance on Twitter) explained the elements of Wood’s injury.
“Based on the process of elimination, this sounds like a Grade 2 moderate ligament tear. With Grade 1 tears, the player is typically assessed on a daily basis, an average return of 7-10 days.
With Grade 3 tears, the player is typically assessed for three or four weeks, like De’Aaron Fox was last season, or ruled out for 4-6 weeks, like Aaron Gordon recently.
The weekly re-assessment seems to be in between the two, and Grade 2 tears typically come with a 2-to-3 week return to play timeline.”
Brar elaborated on Wood’s injury, explaining the biggest concern Houston Rockets fans should have regarding Wood’s specific injury.
“The key risk for Wood, as we’ve already seen once, is re-injury, as previous inversion sprain is the biggest risk factor of a future sprain, and they tend to cluster together as well.”
In a tight and crowded Western Conference playoff race, the Rockets will have to muster out victories without Wood, which will be a tall order, to say the least. This will especially be the case based on Saturday night’s showing against the San Antonio Spurs, which culminated in a Rockets loss in their first game since Wood re-aggravated the ankle.
If Wood is forced to miss three weeks, that would mean the Rockets star would miss roughly 10 games, which could certainly impact the team’s playoff chances down the line. But in spite of the Rockets’ dire need to have Wood back, the most important thing is to allow him to fully heal, as a rush back to the floor would put him at a heightened risk of re-injury, which would cause him to miss even more time.