While dealing with their biggest star’s latest injury setback, the Houston Rockets hope a new arrival can help in their quest to reach .500.
The Rockets (10-15) announced Friday that seven-time All-Star Yao Ming(notes) has a stress fracture in his left ankle that will sideline him the rest of the season. If he chooses surgery, it would take seven to 10 months for him to return to the court.
Yao, who missed last season after surgery to repair his broken left foot, has been sidelined since Nov. 10.
Williams has underachieved since New Jersey selected him with the 11th overall pick in 2009, but the Rockets believe the swingman still has enough potential that they traded a lottery-projected 2012 first-round pick to the Nets on Tuesday in exchange for the former Louisville star.
Williams, who fell out of favor in New Jersey this season because of his occasional tardiness, averaged 8.2 points in 88 games with the Nets.
“Terrence is a very talented and competitive player who allows us additional flexibility with our lineup,” general manager Daryl Morey told the Rockets’ official website. “He has an all-around offensive game along with a defensive mindset and ability.”
A change of scenery could help Williams and further benefit a Houston club that has shown improvement even without Yao and point guard Aaron Brooks(notes), who has missed all but the first five games with an ankle injury.
Houston, which started 0-5, has now won five of eight overall and six in a row at home.
“We are playing better and have a better rhythm as a team,” forward Shane Battier(notes) said. “I think we are 10-10 the last 20, which is a vast improvement from where we started. We still have a ways to go.”
Though Houston lost 117-105 at Oklahoma City on Wednesday, it has allowed 96.8 points during its home winning streak.
Kevin Martin(notes) has averaged 24.2 points during that streak, and 30.3 in his last 12 games against the Grizzlies. Martin and Kyle Lowry(notes) each had 28 points as the Rockets shot a season-high 59.5 percent in a 127-111 win at Memphis on Dec. 3.
Houston has averaged 107.5 points while winning six straight overall against Memphis, and has held the Grizzlies to 87.4 points per game during an eight-game home winning streak in the series.
Memphis (12-14), however, has allowed an average of 83.5 points while winning a season-high four straight overall. The run began with road victories over Phoenix and the Los Angeles Clippers, and continued Wednesday with a 113-80 rout of Charlotte.
Gay, averaging a team-high 21.0 points, had 29 against the Rockets earlier this month.
Memphis is looking to win five in a row for the first time since April 11-19, 2006.