Houston Rockets center Clint Capela will be out 4-6 weeks with a right thumb injury, per reports from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Capela’s MRI reportedly showed his thumb has ligament damage.
Capela has been having a career season so far, with career-highs in points per game (17.6) and rebounds per game (12.6). Though James Harden is having an amazing season, Capela has been the Rockets’ second-leading scorer this season.
Along with his contributions on offense, Capela is still being a rim protector on defense. He’s averaging 1.8 blocks per game, and he’s averaging 2.7 blocks per 100 possessions.
With Capela out for at least a month, the Rockets will need as much offensive output as possible.
Harden has taken on a huge load, and not just in terms of scoring, either. Chris Paul has been out with a hamstring injury since Dec. 22.
With Paul out, Harden has needed to score as well as facilitate. He’s averaged 9.8 assists per game since Paul has been out.
The Rockets are currently in fourth place in the West, and Harden’s extraordinary performances have been a huge reason for that, but Capela has played an important role too.
He has usually played the role of rim runner off pick and rolls, and most of his shots are still coming around the basket.
But this season, Capela has shot 25.1 percent of his field goals 3-10 feet away from the hoop; that percentage is the second-highest of his career for shots taken within 3-10 feet of the hoop.
As the Rockets progress through the middle of the season, they’ll have to gain contributions on both ends of the floor from multiple players to maintain their spot in the crowded Western Conference.