SALT LAKE CITY, UT – MAY 06: Chris Paul #3 of the Houston Rockets shoots over Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz in the second half during Game Four of Round Two of the 2018 NBA Playoffs at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 6, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rockets beat the Jazz 100-87. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)
Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3) and James Harden celebrate the team’s win over the Utah Jazz during Game 5 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

The Houston Rockets won’t be anywhere near full strength until at least the end of January.

According to Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni, Chris Paul is sidelined with a hamstring injury for at least two-to-three more weeks. Meanwhile, the team’s second-leading scorer — Eric Gordon — will be out for at least another week due to a knee injury suffered at the end of December.

Mike D’Antoni says he believes Eric Gordon could return from injury in a week and Chris Paul will take around 2-3 weeks.

Paul has been out with a hamstring injury since suffering the ailment versus the Miami Heat on December 20. It had initially been stated that he would be re-evaluated a couple of weeks after the injury. In the re-evaluation, it appears Paul’s injury was a little bit worse than expected, meaning that by the time he returns, it will have been over a month since he last played in a game.

Prior to his injury, the 33-year-old veteran had averaged 15.6 points and 8.0 assists per game.

Luckily for the Rockets, they’ve played better without Paul — but that’s only because reigning MVP James Harden has completely taken over. Harden has scored at least 32 points in 13 straight games and went on a five-game streak of scoring at least 40 points. Not only has Harden arguably re-established himself as the MVP favorite, but the Rockets have also won seven of the eight games Paul has missed.

After spending much of the early portion of the season stuck in 14th place in the Western Conference, Houston now has the fourth-best record in the West.

Although the Rockets have played well in the absence of Paul, Harden obviously can’t maintain this type of production for the duration of the regular season. They’ll be hoping Paul returns sooner rather than later as they continue their push for one of the top seeds in the Western Conference playoffs.

Courtesy: CBS Sports


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