Rockets center Clint Capela out up to six weeks with fractured fibula
Houston loses a big part of the team
Things were just going too well for the Houston Rockets.
French publication L'Equipe reports via the Houston Chronicle that Rockets center Clint Capela has suffered a fractured fibula. Fox26 in Houston reports he'll miss about six weeks. Capela confirmed the injury to Fox26.
Five things to know about the injury:
1. This is significant. Capela is the team's best pick-and-roll weapon. He's in the 88th percentile finishing in the pick and roll. He sets great screens. He's the primary screen-and-roll man with James Harden in the single most important function of the Rockets offense. He's also a shot blocker and rim protector, which Nene is not at this point and Montrezl Harrell also is too small to really be consistently.
Without Capela, the Rockets are likely going to get worse on both sides of the ball, and in the Western Conference, that's a steep cliff that can get bad in a hurry.
2. It's only 25 minutes per game. Capela is averaging only 25 minutes this season, so there's not a lot that the Rockets have to absorb. They typically opt to develop their own depth, so it's possible Chinanu Onuaku or another Rio Grande Valley callup from the D-League could be the go-to. They also, obviously, play a lot of smallball, so Ryan Anderson will be used in some lineups, along with Trevor Ariza. They'll miss Capela's impact, but not necessarily the huge minute gap.
3. They've got a little bit of a cushion. Houston is 4.5 games up on Oklahoma City for the seventh spot. So even if they slip a little, there's a good chance they'll keep within range of the top three spots in the West with a chance for a run in the second half of the season. Plus, Capela has genuine reason for optimism he'll return earlier.
Basically, fractures typically have a faster recovery time than ligament injuries. The healing and rehab process isn't as severe, and with Capela as young as he is, conditioning isn't as much of a problem.
We'll see how the Rockets address the issue.
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