It wouldn’t quite be the Houston Rockets if injuries didn’t pile up as the team heads to the playoffs.
USA Today reported the bad news today — Donatas Motiejunas, who has been out the last six games with a back injury, will miss the rest of the season and playoffs.
It’s a big blow to the Rockets as they could really use Motiejunas’ versatility inside. Donatas was having a breakout campaign on both sides of the ball in his third NBA season, averaging 12.0 points on 50.4% shooting and hitting a stellar 36.8% from three-point range. At times, D-Mo was lethal inside, unleashing a series of deft post moves, fakes and hook shots to score in the paint. Frankly, Motiejunas was the Rockets’ second best scoring option behind James Harden.
“He was one of the guys we definitely went to,” said coach Kevin McHale. “He was able to get down in the low box. A lot of nights, if our offense got slowed down, we were able to play through D-Mo, especially late. He got us baskets, put pressure on the defense. We’re going to miss him.”
This is the second key rotation player that the Rockets will be without throughout the playoffs as Patrick Beverley was lost to a torn ligament in his wrist.
Motiejunas said yesterday via Twitter that he was working to return and posted a photo of a workout:
— Donatas Motiejunas (@DonatasMot) April 7, 2015
It’s just a real shame we’re at this point as the Rockets seem to be having a special season. With Dwight Howard back along with D-Mo, Josh Smith and Terrence Jones, the Rockets were poised to have a slew of strong and versatile options inside as they entered the postseason. Instead, the four Rocket big men were never healthy at the same time — they never played in a single game all together.
Look for Smith and Jones to pick up the slack at the four, but the injury means the Rockets will continue to run more Joey Dorsey as their backup big man and that’s not all good. We are likely to see a lot of intentional fouling in the playoffs, as we have seen the last few games, as Dorsey shoots just 28.0% from the charity stripe.