Rockets relieved that ankle injury to Christian Wood not as bad as feared

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Ben DuBose
·2 min read
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The latest injury to the troublesome right ankle of Houston Rockets center Christian Wood may not be as bad as initially feared.

Both head coach Stephen Silas and backup center DeMarcus Cousins indicated that the results of Wood’s MRI, which revealed a sprain that will be “re-evaluated on a weekly basis,” were better than what the team had initially suspected when Wood was forced to use a wheelchair to exit the court during Thursday’s game at Memphis.

“For sure, it’s a sigh of relief,” Silas said before Saturday’s game versus San Antonio. “The way he went down, the way it started swelling initially, it looked like it could have been a lot worse.”

“At that moment when it happened, it obviously seemed a lot worse,” Cousins said at Saturday’s shootaround. “It is unfortunate that he had to deal with any type of injury. The fact that we know he will recover quickly and it’s not as bad as it seemed, obviously we’re happy for that. But he has some work to do ahead of him. I’m confident he’s going to get that work done, and he’ll be back on the floor better than ever.”

Now 25 years old, Wood is averaging 22.0 points and 10.2 rebounds in 31.2 minutes per game in the 2020-21 season. In a breakout year that has earned the 6-foot-10 big man consideration for both the All-Star Game and Olympics, he’s shooting 55.8% overall and 42.1% on 3-pointers.

For however long Wood is sidelined, Cousins will start in his place at center. When Wood missed three games after initially spraining his right ankle on Jan. 20, Cousins took the reins and averaged 17.3 points (40.9% on 3-pointers), 14.3 rebounds, and 4.7 assists per game. Houston (11-10) is hoping for that form to continue over a potentially longer period, starting with Saturday’s home game versus San Antonio.

With Cousins becoming a starter, the Rockets don’t appear to have a traditional backup center on their roster. Thus, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Houston explores a potential free-agent signing or trade in the days ahead, given the uncertainty of Wood’s eventual return date.

As for today, Saturday’s game between the Rockets and visiting Spurs tips off at 7:00 p.m. Central. It is televised on AT&T SportsNet Southwest.

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