1:19pm: Mbah a Moute could miss up to four weeks with his latest shoulder injury, a source tells Mark Berman of FOX 26 Houston (Twitter link). If he returns four weeks from today, Mbah a Moute could make it back before the end of the second round.
10:32am: Mbah a Moute will likely miss at least the first round of the postseason, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, there’s no clear timetable yet for the forward’s return.
9:06am: Having already locked up the No. 1 seed in the West and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, the Rockets entered the season’s final week looking to stay healthy for the postseason. However, the club couldn’t get through the year’s final games unscathed.
As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com writes, veteran forward Luc Mbah a Moute suffered a dislocated right shoulder during the second quarter of the Rockets’ loss to the Lakers on Tuesday night. He didn’t return to the game, and is now set to undergo an MRI, head coach Mike D’Antoni confirmed late last night.
A dislocated right shoulder also sidelined Mbah a Moute earlier this season, forcing him out of action for 15 games in December and January. However, D’Antoni is hopeful Mbah a Moute’s latest injury won’t keep him on the shelf for a full month again.
“I think it’s less [severe than in December] but I don’t know,” D’Antoni said, per Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. “We’ll have to wait until tomorrow when he gets it checked out, see what happens.”
If Mbah a Moute is unable to return for the start of the postseason, the Rockets figure to lean more heavily on P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza at the forward position. Depending on what sort of lineups Houston uses, backups like Gerald Green and Joe Johnson could also see a few more minutes than expected in the frontcourt — though if Ryan Anderson is ready to return from his ankle injury to start the playoffs, the team wouldn’t necessarily have to go too far down its bench.