Houston Rockets PF/C Christian Wood is expected to play Wednesday night vs. the Golden State Warriors, per ESPN. Wood has been sidelined for 17 games due to an ankle injury. The Rockets have not won a game since Wood was ruled out back in early February. The team has lost 17 straight games.
Let that sink in for a second... The Rockets have not won a game since February 4 and Wood has been sidelined that entire time. The free agent signing for Houston was in the hunt for Most Improved Player this season before going down. He’s still tied for the third-best odds to win MIP at 16/1 on DraftKings Sportsbook. It’ll be tough for Wood to overcome Julius Randle and Jerami Grant for MIP but a return to the lineup is the first step. Wood has around two and a half months to get back into the race.
The Rockets lineup is a mess. Victor Oladipo and John Wall rotate between being injured, resting and playing. Eric Gordon and David Nwaba are sidelined long-term. Ben McLemore, Danuel House Jr. and Rodion Kurucs have been dealing with injuries. So the rotation is incredibly thin and Houston has been operating without many bigs. Wood solves some of those issues and should make the Rockets more competitive with Dipo also in the lineup.
Wood shouldn’t make an immediate impact. There’s no reason for the Rockets to stretch him out in meaningless games early on in his return. Expect Wood to be on a minutes restriction for a bit before he’s allowed to play a full workload. This isn’t a situation where Wood returns and we get on the Rockets and the points immediately. See how the line shifts. If anything, if the books give Houston a few less points, the Warriors should still win this game pretty handily.
If Wood ends up starting, you’d think he’ll only play around 20-25 minutes. If that’s the case, he’ll still cut into Kenyon Martin Jr. and Jae’Sean Tate’s playing time on Wednesday night. It’s not like anyone on Houston is a fantasy basketball powerhouse or anything. Kevin Porter Jr. should still be a good option in season-long and DFS.