• Brian L. Barefield

Rockets Face Tough Western Conference Foe Without Key Players In The Lineup

Photo Credit/Houston Rockets

The Rockets are heading into familiar territory on Saturday as they face the Denver Nuggets. Unfortunately, it is not the area in which Houston wants to be in. The Rockets will be without John Wall (rest), Kevin Porter Jr. (health and safety protocol), and Christian Wood (ankle) which leaves head coach Stephen Silas with a very limited roster against Denver.

"We're very, very banged up going into (Saturday's) game," Coach Silas said in his postgame press conference after the 109-104 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. "I'm not sure what it's going to look like at this point.”

Houston will be playing their fifth game in the last seven days and that is cause for coach Silas to be hesitant to play starters like Wood and Wall who played a significant number of minutes against the Clippers on Friday. Things don’t get any easier going up against a defensive minded team like Denver without a true point guard to lead the offense for the Rockets.

“In a regular year we could figure out a way to sign a point guard to a ten-day contract and give him a couple of plays so he could get out there and play, but with the COVID protocols you can’t just get somebody and bring them in,” said coach Silas.

Denver, who is coming off a loss to the Golden State Warriors on Friday night was once again bitten by the injury bug themselves as they lost Will Barton who went down with a hamstring injury. The Nuggets were already without guards Monte Morris (hamstring) and Jamal Murray (ACL) and the loss of Barton will put a lot of added pressure on NBA MVP candidate Nikola Jokic.

"You're going to face adversity, injuries are going to happen,” said Nuggets head coach Mike Malone. “How do you handle that? Do you waste time making excuses? Did I go to our team and say, 'Well, Jamal is out for the season, so our goals have changed?' No. It may be harder to attain those goals, but our goals are still the same."

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