Rockets guard Russell Westbrook is out for Game 1 of Houston's first-round series with the Thunder on Tuesday, and no date has been set for his return, according to head coach Mike D'Antoni.
Westbrook did not play in Houston's final two seeding games in Orlando due to a strained right quad. And while he could miss multiple games against Oklahoma City, D'Antoni noted on Tuesday that Westbrook's quad is "healing."
"It’s getting a lot better, good news. It’s healing," D'Antoni said. "We just have to wait and see. I really don’t know at this point. Can’t rule anything out, but don’t rule anything in."
Westbrook's quad strain is the latest in a string of injuries for the Rockets in Orlando. Danuel House missed three games with a toe sprain, P.J. Tucker hurt his hand against Indiana, and Eric Gordon played in just two seeding games after injuring his ankle in a scrimmage on July 28. All three previously-injured players are active and ready to play on Tuesday, per D'Antoni.
James Harden has been the lone constant for the Rockets in Orlando, and the three-time scoring champion appears to be in MVP form ahead of Game 1. Harden scored 34.1 points per game in seven seeding contests, trailing only Blazers guard Damian Lillard. Harden's scoring binge landed him on the NBA's All-Seeding Games first team, but the accolade would obviously pale in comparison to his first Finals appearance with the Rockets. Harden addressed his three straight scoring titles on Monday, adding he and the Rockets "have bigger dreams" in 2020.
"I play basketball and work my butt off for individual and team accomplishments," Harden said. "At the end of the day, when it’s all said and done, I want to be one of the best basketball players to ever touch a basketball."
"We’re definitely heading on the right steps, but I also know I have a long way to go, and a lot of work to put in. ...Obviously, it’s a great accomplishment, but we have bigger dreams and a bigger picture to fulfill."
Harden and the Rockets will take their first steps toward the Finals without Westbrook on Tuesday night. Tip-off vs. Chris Paul and the Thunder is slated for 5:30 p.m. CT.