Third-year wing Garrison Mathews, who has become a regular starter for Houston over the past month, is joining DJ Augustin as a health and safety protocols absence for the Rockets. His timetable to return is not yet clear, though assuming it is due to a positive COVID-19 test result, the NBA is shortening the return process to as little as six days.
With Mathews in a more prominent role, Houston is 9-7 over its last 16 games. In those outings, Mathews is averaging 12.9 points (38.8% on 3-pointers) and 3.9 rebounds in 31.7 minutes per game.
For as long as Mathews is sidelined, that should present more opportunities for reserve guards and wings like Armoni Brooks and rookie Josh Christopher. Expected starters Jalen Green and Kevin Porter Jr. could also shoulder more of the load, though they may each miss one game of Houston’s back-to-back on Monday in Charlotte and Tuesday versus the Los Angeles Lakers (at home) as a precaution due to their recent leg injuries. Both are listed as questionable for Monday.
Mathews is the first player on the Rockets outside of Augustin to miss time in the 2021-22 NBA season due to health and safety protocols. Houston has not played since Thursday, Dec. 23 and did not practice on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day — so if both players did test positive, it’s possible that no teammates were exposed due to the timetable.
Rockets wing Garrison Mathews has joined teammate D.J. Augustin in the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) December 26, 2021
Rockets injury report
Garrison Mathews: OUT (Health and safety protocols)
D.J. Augustin: OUT (Health and safety protocols)
Jalen Green: QUESTIONABLE (Left Hamstring Injury Management)
Kevin Porter Jr: QUESTIONABLE: (Left thigh contusion)
John Wall: OUT (Ask @Rockets_Insider)
— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) December 26, 2021