The Houston Rockets could be a juggernaut, but injuries might prevent us from ever getting the chance to find out.
Just as Dwight Howard readies for a return to the lineup following a seven-week absence, starting power forward Terrence Jones has left it indefinitely after suffering a collapsed lung in Thursday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.
The 23 year-old sustained the injury after taking a knee to the ribs from Kenneth Faried. Watch as Faried’s right knee collides with Jones’ midsection as the two battle for a loose ball:
Jones immediately left the game after the incident and headed to the hospital shortly thereafter – reportedly leaving the Toyota Center on a stretcher.
He returned to the court on January 28 after sitting out the previous 10 weeks due to a nerve issue in his left knee. Jones has averaged 15 points and nine rebounds per game since being re-inserted as a starter on February 23, playing his typical brand of solid and versatile defense in the process.
The Rockets are a stellar 13-3 with him in the starting rotation this season, and 4-0 when Jones and Howard play together. The issue, of course, is that the former number is so low. And despite Howard being “very close” to returning, Jones’ latest malady ensures the team will have to wait even longer to enjoy the fruits of its planned starting frontcourt.
That’s a blessing and a curse, though. Houston is in line for home court advantage come the first round of the playoffs regardless of these health issues – might they take another step upon the simultaneous presence of Jones and Howard? It seems possible, especially considering the team’s early November play coupled with bench additions Daryl Morey has made in the interim.
At this point, though, there’s just no telling when the Rockets will finally be full strength.
We’ll keep you updated on Jones’ status as information becomes available next week.