Eric Gordon Discusses Progress Since Returning From Knee Surgery

Michael Shapiro

Eric Gordon is beginning to feel like himself again. 

The Rockets guard spent much of 2018-19 dealing with knee pain, and he was sidelined for 22 games from Nov. 13 to Dec. 28 after undergoing right knee surgery. Now five games back into his return to Houston's lineup, Gordon said he's progressing toward full health in his knee, adding another dose of firepower to the Rockets' high-octane attack. 

"It's progressing, it's definitely getting better," Gordon said before Rockets practice at the Toyota Center on Monday. "There's going to be ups and downs along the way, but I'm just continuing to get better night in and night out."

Gordon attempted to play through knee pain for the first games of 2019-20, and the results were ugly. He shot 30.9% from the field and 28.4% from three, looking slower (and heavier) than he had in previous seasons. Gordon said the knee surgery "was something that needed to happen," as he continued his rehab on Nov. 18. The time off appears to be paying dividends.

The Indiana product is averaging 15.6 points per game since coming back on Dec. 29, and he's shooting 38.6% from three. Gordon poured in a season-high 20 points against the Pelicans on Dec. 29 and he scored 17 against the Timberwolves on Saturday. Gordon's floor spacing–and trap busting–has helped guide the Rockets to four wins in their last five games, entering Tuesday's matchup in Memphis on a 56-win pace. 

"I don't have to worry about [my knee] too much right now," Gordon said. "I'm focused on helping our team moving forward in the right direction, that's all that matters."

D'Antoni continues to be cautious with Gordon, keeping a 30-minute restriction on the 31-year-old. Gordon said he hopes to play both games of the Rockets' back-to-back on Tuesday and Wednesday, another mini-milestone as he approaches full health for the playoff push. 

The Rockets stayed near the top of the Western Conference without Gordon, going 15–7 in his absence. But Houston's sixth man is still vital to Houston's Finals hopes. He provides a dynamic second weapon when either James Harden or Russell Westbrook sits, and he's an impact on-ball defender. Gordon has been a critical piece in Houston for the last two seasons. He'll likely remain one into the 2020s after signing a three-year, $54.5 million contract extension in August. D'Antoni and the Rockets will continue to remain patient with Gordon's recovery, but the guard's progress since returning from injury remains encouraging. 

"At this point I really just got to go out there and play," Gordon said. "I'm feeling better."

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