Rockets guard Eric Gordon may be sidelined for up to two weeks after turning his left ankle in the team’s final scrimmage Tuesday night, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. X-rays were negative, and Gordon will be re-evaluated today.
The injury occurred late in the second quarter when Gordon landed awkwardly after jumping to make a pass. He was helped to the sidelines by teammates and wasn’t able to place much weight on the ankle.
“Hurts a little bit. He doesn’t really swell, so we won’t know until tomorrow the extent of it,” coach Mike D’Antoni told Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle after the game. “He’s going to be out a few days.”
D’Antoni moved Gordon into the starting lineup when the team reconvened in Orlando. The versatile guard has been through a difficult season since signing a four-year, $76MM extension in September. He missed six weeks after arthroscopic surgery on his right knee in mid-November and struggled with his shot after returning. Gordon is averaging 14.5 PPG, the lowest in his four years in Houston, and is shooting a career-worst 37% from the field.
There was optimism that Gordon turned a corner during the hiatus, as he reported to Orlando 12 pounds lighter, which he credited to diet changes and alterations to his workouts. He is considered a vital cog for the Rockets to succeed with their extreme small-ball lineup.
“To me it just makes sense that you do it, because one, Eric is probably our best perimeter defender,” D’Antoni said in explaining the decision to start Gordon. “So when another team has a superstar in there, he has to guard that. Two, if you don’t start him, then he’s resting for 12 minutes when he is not tired to start the game or in the second half.”
D’Antoni hasn’t decided who will take Gordon’s place as a starter while he is out of action. Bontemps notes that Ben McLemore started the second half last night, but Danuel House, who started 47 games this season, is also an option.
“We’ll see,” D’Antoni said. “It’s an easier rotation because Danuel has to back up (Robert) Covington at the 4, but Danuel could probably start. We’ll see what happens.”