DECEMBER 16: An MRI confirmed that Clemons has torn his Achilles tendon, according to Charania, who reports (via Twitter) that the second-year guard will undergo season-ending surgery and is expected to make a full recovery.
DECEMBER 15: Rockets guard Chris Clemons left the team’s preseason game on Tuesday night in a wheelchair after suffering a right lower leg injury. The initial diagnosis for Clemons is a torn right Achilles tendon, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), who says the team will conduct an MRI on Wednesday to confirm.
Assuming the initial diagnosis holds up, it’s a brutal blow for Clemons, who flashed some upside as a rookie in Houston last season. He averaged 4.9 PPG on .401/.346/.909 shooting in 33 games (8.8 MPG) and may have been in line for an increased role in 2020/21. However, if his Achilles is torn, he’ll almost certainly be ruled out for the season.
The Rockets don’t have a ton of depth at point guard behind starter John Wall – who is coming off a torn Achilles himself – and might have to address the position at some point if Clemons is out for the season.
Houston could take a look at the free agent market — as we detailed earlier today, Shabazz Napier is among the notable veteran point guards who remains unsigned. However, the Rockets don’t have much wiggle room below their hard cap, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), so adding a free agent probably isn’t a viable option for the time being.
Although Clemons’ contract for 2020/21 had been non-guaranteed, he’ll now be paid his minimum salary until he’s healthy or until the end of the season (whichever comes first).