After re-aggravating his ankle injury in Thursday’s win against the Philadelphia 76’ers, Dwight Howard missed Saturday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers and may be in danger of missing a few more games.
After missing three straight games against the Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Bobcats, Howard was cleared to play against the 76’ers. The decision was certainly a curious one. The Rockets defeated all three teams pretty easily and certainly didn’t need to have Howard play against the 76’ers, who were coming off 25 straight losses.
The Rockets do have Omer Asik on the team, their backup center who they still haven’t traded. Asik isn’t on the same level as Howard offensively but he did a solid job in Howard’s absence, including a 12-point, 11-rebound performance against the Clippers.
With Asik on the squad, it would make sense for the Rockets to rest up Howard as much as possible before the playoffs. There are 10 games until the playoffs. The Rockets are two games behind the Clippers for the three seed, and 2.5 games ahead of the five-seeded Portland Trail Blazers.
The Rockets will face the Nets, Raptors, and Thunder in their next three games but then get the Nuggets (twice), Pelicans (twice), Lakers, Timberwolves, and Spurs to round out the season. Howard already may be out for those next 3-4 games and by then we should have a better understanding of where the Rockets may finish in the season.
If the four-seed is your preferred destination, then sitting Howard may make sense. The Rockets could likely afford to lose a few more games and still be seeded in the top four. The Rockets own the tiebreaker between the Rockets and the Trail Blazers which certainly adds to their comfort level.
If I were the Rockets, I’d likely sit Howard the next several games and then take it by day. There’s no reason to risk an injury to Howard and I’d expect the Rockets to be cautious with James Harden and Chandler Parsons as well, limiting their minutes as they finish up the season.
What would you do if you were the Rockets? Chime in below!