Wood had to be helped off the court after rolling the ankle on a drive to the basket during the third quarter. He split two defenders, but landed awkwardly and fell to the ground in pain. It’s the second time in less than three weeks that he has hurt the ankle. He missed three games after a similar injury on January 20, but sources tell MacMahon the Rockets are concerned it will be much longer this time.
“I don’t know,” coach Stephen Silas said after the game when asked how long Wood might be sidelined. “It didn’t look great. It was unfortunate.”
Acquired by Houston in a sign-and-trade during the offseason, Wood has emerged as an All-Star candidate, averaging 22.0 points and 10.2 rebounds through 17 games.
DeMarcus Cousins will become the Rockets’ starting center while Wood is sidelined. He was outstanding in that role in the three games Wood missed in January, averaging 17.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 4.7 assists per night. Cousins is playing on a non-guaranteed contract that won’t become fully guaranteed until the league-wide date later this month.
Houston doesn’t have much size apart from Cousins, so the team could be looking at a roster move if Wood is forced to miss several weeks.
“It was difficult for me,” Silas said of watching the injury. “I had to like sit down and collect my thoughts and gather myself. As good as he’s been playing, I mean, really just like a breakout season and doing everything we needed him to do … Yeah, it sucks.”