- The NBA Injury Report is a daily piece that runs through the slate's key injuries and their betting and DFS impact.
- There are two key teams with multiple injuries to analyze on Thursday night: the Houston Rockets and Charlotte Hornets.
There are three games tonight but quite a few injuries. In this piece I’ll analyze the bevy of injuries to the Houston Rockets, as well as how the absence of forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will affect the Charlotte Hornets.
Injuries: PJ Tucker (illness) is questionable, Clint Capela (knee) isn’t on the injury report and Gerald Green (ankle) and Carmelo Anthony (“illness”) are out.
Injury background: Tucker played a game-high 40 minutes in Sunday’s win despite dealing with a stomach virus. Clint Capela suffered a bruised knee early in the game, played 29 minutes and sat most of the fourth quarter. He’s not on the injury report after being unsure of his status following the game.
Gerald Green will sit for the second straight game due to a sprained ankle, and Carmelo Anthony remains away from the team.
Additionally, Chris Paul has been dealing with a sore shooting elbow since October 26, but the Rockets have yet to include him on the injury report. Over that eight-game span, Paul has converted 45-of-119 (37.8%) attempts and 14-of-46 (30.4%) three-pointers.
Tonight’s impact: Tucker has served as the starting power forward and backup center. He’s played a team-high 431 minutes this season and has led the Rockets by canning 46.6% of his 3-point attempts. If he can’t play, he’ll leave a sizeable hole in the rotation.
Eric Gordon or Gary Clark could slot into the starting lineup while James Ennis slides up to power forward opposite Paul Millsap. Rookie Isaiah Hartenstein hasn’t played more than 13 minutes in any game this season with all his playing time spent exclusively at center.
After Green suffered the ankle injury in Saturday’s loss, coach Mike D’Antoni maintained a rotation of eight players. Without Green in Sunday’s game, D’Antoni again utilized an eight-man rotation, refusing to play Michael Carter-Williams or Marquese Chriss on the second night of a back-to-back. Even at altitude, eight players project to receive a chunk of the minutes if Tucker is cleared to play.
When James Harden or Paul have been on the court without Tucker, the Rockets have sustained a -8.6 Net Rating, although that sample does include a ton of minutes with both Anthony and Green.
The Nuggets and Rockets rank in the bottom six in pace this season, but when Tucker has been off the court, the Rockets’ pace has increased 4.63 possessions per 48 minutes. That said, among players who’ve averaged at least 20.0 minutes per game, Harden has compiled the 12th-lowest pace factor (97.96) this season.
Hornets F Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (ankle) is out.
Injury background: Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a sprained right ankle during the first half of Sunday’s win, and he’s already been ruled out for Tuesday’s game against the 1-11 Cavaliers. Kidd-Gilchrist is wearing a walking boot and isn’t sure how much time he’ll miss. He considers himself day-to-day.
Tonight’s impact: Kidd-Gilchrist has served as the Hornets’ backup power forward this season. Coach James Borrego indicated Miles Bridges will receive Kidd-Gilchrist’s minutes, and Bridges played the entire fourth quarter of Sunday’s win.
It’s possible Dwayne Bacon slides into Miles’ current role, but with Kidd-Gilchrist limited to five minutes on Sunday, Borrego shortened his rotation to nine. Marvin Williams, who has averaged 23.8 minutes per game, should see an increase to offset the absence of Kidd-Gilchrist.
At $3,700 on DraftKings, Bridges profiles as a value option. He’s exceeded salary-based expectations in all five games he’s played at least 20 minutes this season.
The Hornets’ pace hasn’t been affected based on Kidd-Gilchrist’s availability, but their Offensive Rating has improved from 106.6 with Kidd-Gilchrist on the bench to 103.3 when Kidd-Gilchrist has played. Kidd-Gilchrist’s presence has also drastically improved the Hornets’ offensive rebounding numbers.
That said, since the Cavs recently started Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance Jr. in the frontcourt — a pairing coach Larry Drew plans to recycle on Tuesday — offensive rebound chances may be slim. When that duo has been on the court, the Cavaliers have limited opponents to a 21.7% offensive rebound rate, which is nearly identical to the Pistons’ league-leading mark.
In the first game against the Cavs this season 10 days ago, the Hornets won by 32 points and Kemba Walker played a team-high 29.9 minutes. Borrego emptied the end of the bench in the final eight minutes and played Bismack Biyombo, Frank Kaminsky, and Bacon.
Over the last three games, the Cavs have actually ranked third in the league with a 101.0 Defensive Rating despite losing Cedi Osman (back), George Hill (shoulder) and Sam Dekker (ankle) to injury. The Hornets have opened as 6.5-point favorites on the road, but with how terrible the Cavs offense has been, it’s surprising the Hornets aren’t closer to double-digit favorites.