All-Star Rockets guard Russell Westbrook has suffered a strained right quadriceps muscle, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). After undergoing an MRI, Westbrook was a late scratch for today’s game against the Pacers, and will also miss Houston’s regular season finale Friday against the Sixers.
Spears notes that Westbrook may miss the start of the NBA playoffs next week, but his injury will be reassessed ahead of the first round.
Luckily for Houston, today also marks the first game back since March 10 for much-needed former Sixth Man of the Year Eric Gordon. The veteran Rockets guard has missed all of the team’s prior six seeding games with a left ankle injury. Gordon should help make up for the loss in backcourt scoring production.
Westbrook has been able to keep the team afloat when the Rockets’ other All-Star, MVP candidate James Harden, is off the court. That offensive load must now be replicated by committee, with Gordon and fellow impressive guards Austin Rivers and Ben McLemore needed to step up.
At 44-26, Houston is currently the No. 4 seed in the West. The club could fall as far as No. 6 depending on the outcomes of these final two seeding games. The Thunder and Jazz are the Rockets’ competition for virtual home court in the first round of the playoffs.