UPDATE: It’s official. According to the Houston Chronicle, Beverley has opted for surgery and will miss the season’s remainder.
PREVIOUSLY: The injury-plagued Houston Rockets haven’t been full strength all season long. And if Kevin McHale is to believed, his team will continue to be short-handed come playoff time, too.
Following Houston’s 99-91 road victory over the increasingly lethargic Washington Wizards on Sunday, McHale excluded Patrick Beverley from a list of players set to return soon and indicated the point guard likely won’t play again in 2014-2015.
Via Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:
While listing the players out with injuries, Rockets coach Kevin McHale described Beverley’s situation differently than the others.
“I’m not sure about Pat,” McHale said. “Probably won’t come back.”
The 26 year-old suffered torn ligaments in his left wrist during the Rockets’ win over the Indiana Pacers last Monday. Though the team has yet to issue a statement on whether or not he will undergo season-ending surgery, McHale’s remarks put the writing on the wall – barring a surprise, Beverley won’t play again any time soon.
This is a major blow for Houston. Despite not playing up his reputation as one of the league’s most influential perimeter defenders this season, Beverley is still a solid performer on that end and easily his team’s best option at point guard. Jason Terry has been surprisingly effective in his Rockets debut and Pablo Prigioni has a place in the league, but neither aging veteran offers Houston what Beverley does, and both are well-below average defensive players.
In a conference that boasts floor generals the likes of Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Damian Lillard, Mike Conley, and Tony Parker, can the Rockets defend ably enough elsewhere to compensate for Beverley’s absence and the ineptitude of Terry and Prigioni? McHale’s team certainly has the personnel to do so, and there exists a realistic chance that they’ll actually improve on the other end in this scenario, too.
But the overwhelming point remains the same as it has all season: Without every player on the roster available and playing at his peak, it’s difficult to imagine Houston winning the Western Conference. And make no mistake, either; though the James Harden-Dwight Howard led Rockets have yet to win a playoff series, the NBA Finals are absolutely the goal for the Rockets.
It would have taken perfect health and brilliant performances all-around for them to get there. And now? Missing Beverley plus the season-long continuity afforded mostly healthy teams? It’s just far more doubtful Houston has enough to beat the West’s true elite.
We’ll keep you updated as news on Beverley’s status becomes available.