The good news for the Houston Rockets, who started an light lineup in their previous two games with 6-foot-11, 213-pound rookie Jabari Smith Jr. at center, is that more bulk is on the way.
Second-year center Alperen Sengun, who typically comes off the bench but plays more minutes in the middle than any other Rockets player, rejoined the team at Friday’s shootaround in Portland and is listed as probable to play in tonight’s game. Sengun, who averages 15.7 points (58.1% FG) and 10.0 rebounds in 24.0 minutes, had missed Houston’s prior two contests with an illness.
However, the Rockets (1-4) are without fourth-year center Bruno Fernando — who left early on Oct. 21 versus Memphis with knee soreness — for two or three more weeks, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Fernando is out with left patellar tendinosis.
Like Sengun, point guard Kevin Porter Jr. is also listed as probable to play on Friday in Portland. He bruised his right quad late in Wednesday’s game at Utah after a collision with Jordan Clarkson.