The Rockets didn’t want to rust, but playing through meaningless games has now cost them badly.
Luc Mbah a Moute suffered a shoulder dislocation Tuesday night in the second quarter against the Lakers. It’s the second time Mbah a Moute has suffered that injury on his right shoulder this season.
— ClutchFans (@clutchfans) April 11, 2018
The only hope for these meaningless games was to stay healthy and they weren’t so fortunate. While an official report outside of “dislocated shoulder” hasn’t come down, Mbah a Moute missed a month earlier the season with this injury so you can expect him to be out for a bulk of the playoffs. The Western Conference Finals usually starts in the middle of May so if the timeline is similar, that might be a target for a return — but it’s too early to tell at this point.
The Rockets are 13-7 this year when Mbah a Moute does not play, but in only four of those games did James Harden, Chris Paul and Clint Capela all play. Houston was 4-0 in those games.
However, the defense, where Mbah a Moute and PJ Tucker have been huge additions, is going to take a hit. Both players have been key to the Rockets’ ability to switch seamlessly, especially on bigs. You can’t get that to the same degree from a Gerald Green or a Joe Johnson (though Johnson may become more important). Ryan Anderson is going to have to step up in the playoffs.
There’s really no spinning this. Awful news.