As much as they would like to get Chris Paul back in the lineup, the Rockets won’t use their new point guard until he is fully recovered, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. After playing on opening night, Paul has been sidelined by a bruised knee. He has been swimming and boxing to stay in shape and went through shooting drills Saturday.
Coach Mike D’Antoni said he hopes to have Paul back around the middle of this month, but there isn’t a definite date for his return. “Every day that goes by we get a little bit closer,” D’Antoni said. “It can’t be close enough. He’s getting there.”
For his part, Paul is anxious to get back on the court, and agrees with D’Antoni’s timeline, as he tells Sam Amick of USA Today.
There’s more NBA news from the Lone Star State:
- Free agent addition Luc Mbah a Moute has been a huge bargain for the Rockets, Feigen writes in a separate story. Houston pursued the 31-year-old forward for his defensive prowess, but Mbah a Moute has contributed on offense as well. He is averaging 9.3 points per game and scored a season-high 20 Friday against the Hawks. The Rockets were able to sign him to a one-year, minimum-salary deal thanks to aggressive recruiting from Paul, who recognized the value of his former Clippers teammate. “He’s the best-kept secret in the NBA,” D’Antoni said. “… He’s as good as anybody. He’s smart. He can play big minutes. He can shoot 3s. Whatever you want him to do he does it. He’s got playmaking skills. He sees the floor. I don’t know how we all missed it, but we all did.”
- Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle continues to tinker with his lineup, starting Salah Mejri at center Saturday night instead of Nerlens Noel, relays Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. “He always brings a lot of energy, a lot of fight,” Carlisle said of Mejri, who made his first start of the season. “He brings a certain combative personality to the game, which is something we need right now.” Noel, who is headed toward unrestricted free agency after accepting the team’s qualifying offer this summer, has been in and out of the starting lineup with six starts in 11 games.
- Second-year shooting guard Bryn Forbes had his best night of the season Friday with 22 points off the Spurs‘ bench, notes Tom Orsborn of The San Antonio Express-News. Undrafted out of Michigan State last season, Forbes seems to have earned a spot in San Antonio’s rotation. “It’s a (testament) to how well he’s been working behind the scenes,” said teammate Patty Mills. “He’s one of those hard workers who never puts his head down and just keeps grinding. So I’m really proud of him because you see it all pay off in the end.”