The Rockets haven't wasted much time getting involved in the injury racket, and last night's game in Oklahoma City didn't help.
Already missing Shane Battier thanks to a preseason ankle problem, the Rockets suffered more serious issues last night when both Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest went to the bench thanks to injury. Artest may have sprained his ankle on a late take to the rim but swore he was fine after the game. McGrady's situation may not be quite as good: He left early in the third quarter after aggravating a problem with his surgically repaired left knee, and he is expected to take an MRI today.
While the Rockets held on to win against a terrible Thunder team, their already sputtering offense could be in a lot of trouble if McGrady misses any significant time, not just because of who won't be on the court but who will be on the court as well.
For all the discussion going into this season about how Ron Artest would take to being the third option on this Houston team, he'll only be elevated in the pecking order if T-Mac is out, and this isn't necessarily a good thing. This is a team whose main problems have been too much isolation basketball and failing to move the ball effectively.
While McGrady and Artest are both high-volume shooters, the former is and has been markedly better throughout his career at distributing the basketball and keeping teammates at least somewhat involved. Artest's tendency is to simply put his head down and go, and giving him a greater share of the reins of the offense with the understanding that the slack needs to be picked up for McGrady probably isn't going to help that.
For the sake of one of the league's most intriguing three-star dynamics, here's hoping for no serious knee trouble for McGrady. It would be nice for the Rockets to have some time to figure things out at full strength.