Aaron Brooks Out 4-6 Weeks With Ankle Sprain
Brooks turned his ankle in the first half of Saturday's loss to the Spurs and didn't play Sunday against the Timberwolves. Undrafted rookie point guard Ish Smith started in Brooks' place, and played a team-high 41 minutes, speaking to Houston's new depth problem at the position. Brooks' normal back-up, Kyle Lowry, missed Sunday's game with a sore back and has played in just two of Houston's six games. Despite an easy win over Minnesota -- Houston's first of the season -- the Rockets need Lowry back to relieve Smith and give coach Rick Adelman some options at the position.
Brooks won the league's Most Improved Player award last season, and is depended upon as an explosive scorer and creator. Lowry is much more of a defender and rebounder from the point guard position, though the Rockets like what he offers given that the team matched a four-year, $24 million offer sheet from the Cavaliers this summer. Lowry would be a feasible full-time starter on a handful of NBA teams, and the fit might be fine for the next month or so, provided scoring guard Kevin Martin stays healthy and talented forward Luis Scola keeps up his incredible production (22/12 through six).
While Houston is 1-5, the team has played a tough opening schedule and have played opponents close. Losing Brooks will hurt, but the season is long and Houston's roster talented. But again, the Rockets need Lowry back as soon as possible, especially with Houston visiting John Wall and the Wizards Wednesday, and playing host Derrick Rose and the Bulls next week. Asking Smith to face off against talent like that is just unfair.