The Houston Rockets will be relieved to learn that after an MRI, big man Christian Wood’s right ankle injury was revealed to be just an ankle sprain, which will keep him out for at least a week, general manager Rafael Stone said.
Wood will be re-evaluated on a weekly basis moving forward, Stone added.
Anyone who saw the injury live would have had to have thought that the injury was much worse than a simple sprain, with Wood stepping and fully rolling his right foot on Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant’s foot as the former drove to the hoop.
After suffering the injury, Wood was seen grimacing and slamming his hand on the ground in pain several times. The 25-year-old was unable to put much weight on the foot as he limped off the court during the ensuing timeout.
Though he tried to gut it out and take his free throws after the foul called on Morant, his teammates convinced him it was not necessary and helped him to a wheelchair near the tunnel that took him to the locker room. The Rockets would go on to finish off a 115-103 win over the Grizz after Wood’s exit.
Head coach Stephen Silas said, “It didn’t look great, it was unfortunate,” when asked about the injury postgame. Thankfully, it was not as severe as feared.
It is worrying, however, to note that Wood had just sprained that same right ankle on January 20th, an injury that put the potential first-time All-Star out of commission for three games.
Houston’s first challenge without Wood will come on Saturday night in a tilt with the San Antonio Spurs, against whom they have underdog NBA odds of -105 (888sport) without their go-to big man and leading scorer.
Wood has been having a breakout season after a strong finish to his last campaign in 2019-2020 with the Detroit Pistons. Playing with his sixth different franchise in six years, Wood has become a bonafide NBA stud in Houston, putting up 22.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.9 triples, and 1.5 blocks per game on a 56/42/69 shooting line in 17 games.
Veteran DeMarcus Cousins will step into the starting role for the Rockets with Wood out, which is about as good a backup plan as you can have in the front court. In the previous four games Cousins started in place of an injured Wood this season, Boogie has been putting up 15.3 points, 14.3 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 2.5 threes, 1.8 blocks, and 1.8 steals per game with a 37/42/72 shooting line.
The Rockets have won seven of their past eight games and currently sit in the 10th position in the Western Conference with an 11-10 record.