Motiejunas said he's over the back injury that limited him to 37 games with the Rockets a season ago, Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston reports. It was reported back in June that Motiejunas was suffering from recurring back problems that would prevent him from suiting up for the Lithuanian squad in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janiero, but the big men is now saying that he's fully recovered and is only skipping the Games due to his uncertain status as a restricted free agent. The Rockets have the right to match any offer sheet Motiejunas might sign, and both sides appear open to a reunion if the price is right. After the team signed Ryan Anderson to a four-year, $80 million contract earlier this offseason, Motiejunas might have to settle for a limited role off the bench if he returns to Houston.
Motiejunas continues to deal with a nagging back injury, making it unlikely he plays in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Sportando reports. Motiejunas underwent back surgery in April of last year, forcing him to miss a large chunk of the start of the 2015-16 campaign. Despite being over a year removed from surgery, he says his back is still not back to full strength, which is a bit concerning considering the length of time the injury has lingered. With training camp still over three months away, he's got plenty of time to further recover from the back injury. However, we should hear more on the injury as the offseason progresses.
Motiejunas turned in 14 points (5-11 FG, 2-3 3Pt, 2-2 FT), 13 rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block over 31 minutes in Thursday's 97-96 Game 3 victory over the Warriors. The 25-year-old sprung to life after a modest first two games of the series, with the double-double serving as his first of his injury-shortened season. Motiejunas was also encouragingly able to contribute from long range, adding a key dimension to a Rockets offense that typically relies an inordinate amount on James Harden. Contributions down low the likes of the ones put forth by Dwight Howard and Motiejunas on Thursday would undoubtedly go a long way in helping the Rockets remain competitive for the remainder of the season. The oft-injured four-year veteran will try to keep his positive momentum going in Sunday's Game 4 showdown.
Motiejunas will draw the start in Monday's matchup with the Warriors, Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports. Motiejunas played a reserve role in the series opener Saturday, as the Rockets opted to go with a smaller lineup against the Warriors. The Rockets have indicated that because of Motiejunas' quick decision making and ball movement he will return to the starting lineup Monday. The starting situation could be fluid going forward.
Motiejunas is expected to start Monday night's Game 2 against the Warriors, ESPN's Calvin Watkins reports. Motiejunas' promotion to Houston's starting lineup would follow an aggressive 12-minute cameo in which he posted eight points and two rebounds in Game 1. That production contrasted teammate Corey Brewer's 1-for-8 shooting performance, making Brewer the likely candidate to be replaced by Motiejunas in the Rockets' starting five Monday. In 22 starts over the course of the regular season, Motiejunas averaged 6.7 points and 3.5 rebounds while playing 15.7 minutes per game.
Last 7 Games
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