Saturday, May 15

Rockets center Christian Wood ruled out of preseason opener vs. Bulls – Houston Chronicle

The Rockets knew they would be shorthanded for their preseason opener Friday in Chicago but were missing one more starter than planned. As with the wait for James Harden to begin practicing with the team, the hope is that the latest absence will soon be over.

In addition to playing without Harden, whose late arrival for training camp limits him to individual workouts until next week, Rockets center Christian Wood sat out Friday’s game against the Bulls.

The Rockets hope that Wood, the team’s top free-agent addition, will be cleared to return from a sore left elbow for Monday’s practice in Houston and Tuesday’s game against the Spurs.

“We’re expecting him to be able to play when we get back,” Rockets coach Stephen Silas said.

As with Harden, forward P.J. Tucker and guard Sterling Brown remained in Houston for individual workouts. Tucker has attended Rockets practices this week, but has been only going through individual workouts, Silas said. He is also expected to be cleared for practice Monday.

“P.J.’s back in Houston,” Silas said. “He’s been doing all his testing. He is doing individual workouts. He will be practicing on Monday. He has been attending practices but he has not been performing.”

Though Silas had said that Harden’s late arrival for the start of training camp was a setback, having a few players out is not unusual for preseason games, though in many other ways this is a very unusual preseason.

“I’m considering it a part of preseason,” Silas said. “It is a shorter window this year. Usually this stuff happens at the beginning of preseason and you have six to eight preseason games to kind of work it out. This year, we have four preseason games so it’s kind of part of preseason, but we only have like a week and a half before our first game.”

After playing the Bulls in the second preseason game Sunday in Chicago, the Rockets will play the Spurs on Tuesday and Thursday at Toyota Center. The regular-season opener is Dec. 23 at home against the Thunder.

“We have had four or five good days of work, but we have a lot of work to do,” Silas said. “Like I keep saying, it’s the 6th (when training camp opened) to the 23rd. This is just one more step in it. There will be a lot of evaluation going on (with the preseason games,) especially with the guys playing not quite as many minutes as they usually would.”

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