Eric Gordon is Houston’s third-leading scorer for the 2019-20 season and “essential” to the team’s championship aspirations, according to general manager Daryl Morey. Problem is, Gordon’s spotty right knee, which led to surgery back in November, had stripped the Rockets of one of their most lethal scorers for a massive chunk of the season. The guard appeared in just 30 of the possible 64 games prior to the COVID-19 pandemic halting play.
Thankfully for Gordon and his team’s title hopes, the downtime appears to have done plenty of good for the 31-year-old’s body.
12 Lbs. Lighter, Gordon’s Explosion is Back
While many of us were busy packing on the lbs. during quarantine, Gordon was getting his body in game shape. Kelly Iko of The Athletic previously reported back in late May that Gordon had “lost 12 pounds off his frame by way of track sprints and diet.” Iko noted that the hope was “that with the weight that has come off him, he’ll be able to prevent further injury to his knees.”
The initial returns from all accounts within the Rockets’ organization since entering the NBA bubble appear to back that claim, as Gordon has received a slew of praise since returning to practice in Orlando.
Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni noted last weekend that Gordon “hasn’t missed a rep,” during a Zoom session, per Cayleigh Griffin. “He looks good, he’s shooting the ball extremely well,” D’Antonio said. “If you had to make an assessment of everybody, this is a big bonus for us. He’s ready to go.”
Fast forward a week and not much has changed, as Gordon is feeling great and itching to return to real gameplay.
“Everything’s been good. Explosion has been there,” Gordon said, per Ben DuBose of the Rockets Wire. “It’s only been a week or so, but I’ve been looking forward to getting back into the fold of things.” Gordon added, “Good thing we have a game this week, and I should just keep feeling better and better.”
Russell Westbrook’s Return Near
On Friday, Gordon and his Rockets will get their first taste of NBA play since March, as they’ll face off against the reigning NBA Champions, the Toronto Raptors, at 6:30 pm Central / 7:30 pm ET.
And there appears to be a growing possibility that Gordon could be joined by a certain Houston guard in the backcourt by the time Friday rolls around. As the Rockets have received a key update regarding Russell Westbrook’s status.
The Athletic’s Alykhan Bijani has reported that Westbrook, the former league MVP, has a chance to return to practice in Orlando on Wednesday, July 22.
Westbrook tested positive for COVID-19 and departed from Walt Disney World back on July 13.
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