While the injury bug has gotten ahold of the Houston Rockets throughout the first half of the 2018-19 NBA season, the team has slowly managed to get healthy. With the likes of Chris Paul and Eric Gordon back in the lineup, the only bad news is that center Clint Capela remains sidelined.
Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets marked the ninth game Capela has missed after the team revealed he had undergone successful surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb. This came with a timeline of four to six weeks for a potential return. Based on that timeline (which was revealed on Monday, January 14), the four-week mark falls right around the NBA All-Star break.
Although the Rockets are unlikely to have Capela for a few more weeks, there was some positive news prior to the team’s game Friday.
Clint Capela Injury Update
While the timeline for Capela remains on track, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon revealed the 24-year-old was in attendance for the game in Denver. Beyond that, he also wasn’t wearing a splint or cast on his injured thumb and should be back just after the break.
This is obviously good news, as the Rockets are incredibly thin in the frontcourt currently. They signed Kenneth Faried after he was bought out of his contract by the Brooklyn Nets, and he’s proceeded to log big minutes in each of the past three games. Beyond Faried, the Rockets currently have veteran Nene Hilario and Isaiah Hartenstein, but both play very limited minutes.
Clint Capela’s Strong Start to Season
Although the 6-foot-10 center has been forced to missed time as of late, he posted strong averages of 17.6 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game prior to the injury. Capela was impressive through the start of January when the Rockets were without Paul and Gordon, among others. During that stretch, he averaged 21.2 points, 13.0 rebounds and shot 60.5 percent from the field in six games.
Capela’s numbers have progressively improved in each season of his NBA career. After being a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, it took him two seasons before hitting double-digit points per game. Since that point, he’s jumped his numbers virtually across the board. Capela is also averaging the most minutes played per game this season (34.2) up from 27.5 last season and 23.9 the year prior.
When the Rockets get their young big man back, it’ll only bolster their depth and all-around outlook. Considering they currently sit with a 29-21 record and are just 3.5 games back of the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference, there’s a lot to like about the team’s upside.