Rockets guard Russell Westbrook is expected to be out for at least the "first few games," of Houston's playoff series against the Thunder, according to the Houston Chronicle's Jonathan Feigen.
Westbrook underwent an MRI for a strained right quad on Wednesday. He was ruled out for Friday's seeding game vs. Philadelphia, and Houston planned to re-evaluate Westbrook before the playoffs began.
Houston's point guard could be out of the lineup for more than just a few games in round one. Westbrook's return will be dictated by "how he responds to treatment," per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Westbrook's injury is the latest in a string of ailments for the Rockets in Orlando. Danuel House has missed the last two games due to a sprained toe, while P.J. Tucker appeared to hurt his hand in Wednesday's loss vs. Indiana. Eric Gordon made his first seeding-game appearance on Wednesday after missing two weeks due to a sprained right ankle.
James Harden will have to take further control of the Rockets offense with Westbrook out. And on the bright side, it appears as though the 2017-18 MVP is up to the task. Harden dropped 45 points on Indiana on Wednesday, and he appears in-shape and ready for the 2020 postseason to begin. After a midseason lull, Harden is nearing the peak of his powers. He'll need to be at his best for Houston to advance past the first round.
The Rockets will face Chris Paul and the Thunder in round one of the Western Conference playoffs. Oklahoma City is 2–1 vs. Houston this season, including a 112-107 comeback victory at the Toyota Center in January. The Rockets may sport more top-end talent, but make no mistake: Paul and Co. will be a tough out for any Western Conference opponent.
Houston will play its final seeding game on Friday night. The date and time for Game 1 vs. Oklahoma City has not been announced.