Oh no, not again.
After already playing without him for half the season, the Houston Rockets might have to play without Dwight Howard during the Western Conference Finals, too.
The star center suffered a bruised left knee during the first quarter of Game 1 against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night, when Rockets' teammate Josh Smith inadvertently fell into Howard's leg. Howard is scheduled to have an MRI on Wednesday. Although Howard returned to the court in the second half, he clearly wasn't himself. The Rockets lost 110-106.
"It's very painful," Howard told ESPN. "I tried to play it off as much as possible, but I couldn't give my teammates what I needed to give them."
The Rockets played 41 of their regular-season games without Howard, but they desperately need his services inside against the Warriors. Howard has averaged 17.2 points and a 2015 playoff-high 13.8 rebounds per game in the postseason.
Game 2 of the Rockets-Warriors series will be played Thursday night in Oakland.
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(Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)