PORTLAND, OREGON (TICKER) —The Portland Trail Blazers will be missing Scottie Pippen and the Houston Rockets possibly without coach Rudy Tomjanovich when the playoff hopefuls meet at the Rose Garden on Wednesday.
Pippen, the Blazers’ starting point guard, will be out for the next three weeks and possibly the playoffs after he underwent arthroscopic surgery on his swollen left knee on Tuesday. Pippen, who was moved to the point by Blazers coach Mo Cheeks after the team started the season 3-6, had missed Portland’s last four games.
Portland, which is opening a three-game homestand, had lost two in a row before defeating Indiana on Monday, 95-88.
Arvydas Sabonis scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter, Ruben Patterson added 15 points and Rasheed Wallace and Damon Stoudamire 14 apiece for the Blazers, who blew a 17-point lead before taking the lead for good, 75-72, on a 3-pointer by Wallace.
Tomjanovich, who was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor on the lining of his bladder on Monday, missed the Rockets’ 100-94 loss at Seattle on Tuesday, the opener of a tough five-game road trip.
It was the first game Tomjanovich had missed in his 11-year tenure as the Rockets’ coach. Tomjanovich, who will be treated without surgery, plans to rejoin the Rockets on their trip but might not make it to Portland on Wednesday.
Portland is in fourth place in the West, one-half game ahead of Minnesota. Houston is tied with Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot. The Rockets would win a tiebreaker with the Suns since they won three of four games between the teams this season.
The Blazers and Rockets split their first two meetings this season, with each winning at home. Portland, which posted a 77-71 victory on November 26, has won four of five in the series and two in a row here.