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Second-year forward Jae’Sean Tate, who is arguably Houston’s most valuable defensive player, is now back with the Rockets after missing two games this week due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Tate was cleared from the protocol in time to join the starting lineup for Friday’s home matchup versus Miami on New Year’s Eve. Head coach Stephen Silas said it remained to be seen whether Tate would have his minutes limited, since he could not play or practice over the past four days, and the Rockets are still evaluating his conditioning level.
Now 26 years old, Tate is averaging 12.3 points (49.1% FG, 30.7% on 3-pointers), 5.7 rebounds, and 3.1 assists in 27.5 minutes per game. He’s started in all 34 of his appearances for the Rockets this season.
The Rockets still remain without Garrison Mathews, DJ Augustin, and DeJon Jarreau due to the NBA’s COVID-19 protocol, and Silas said pregame Friday that he did not yet have an expected return timetable for them. With the NBA again lowering its threshold to return, though, the obvious hope from the team is that it comes sooner rather than later.
Houston’s roster is fully vaccinated and boosted, which now allows players who test positive to return after as little as five days.
Rockets forward Jae'Sean Tate has cleared health and safety protocols and is available to play against the Heat tonight. Heat guard Kyle Lowry also moved from out to available.
— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) December 31, 2021