The Houston Rockets could be without one of their key names for a number of games after reports emerged that Dwight Howard is facing up to the prospect of missing "extended time."
Big man down
The news, first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, will come as a major blow to the organization with the Rockets currently sitting level with the Clippers and Portland Trail Blazers in fifth spot in the Western Conference.
The competitive nature of the West means the impact of any injury is significant but, bar MVP-candidate James Harden, losing Howard is just about the worst thing that could happen to Houston as they battle for the highest seed possible.
There could be a silver lining though with Woj noting that Howard will seek a second opinion to clarify the situation, but at present the signs are not looking good.
Howard has already missed the Rockets' last two outings, and was absent for 11 games earlier this season, as swelling and a build up of fluid in the right knee forced him to watch from the sidelines.
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The three-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year won't be travelling with the team this weekend either with reports confirming he is seeking specialist advice rather than heading to the East for the Rockets road trip.
As of yet there is no official timeline on exactly how long Rockets fans can expect to be without one of the foundations of the team although it looks likely to be until at least after the All-Star break.
The Rockets have seven games before the February 15th marquee event and face playoff rivals Portland (Feb 9) and Clippers (Feb 12) in that time frame.
As such, Houston will be desperate to see Howard return from his second evaluation with more positive news otherwise the responsibility on James harden's shoulders just became even greater.
Dwight Howard is currently averaging 16.3 points, 11 rebounds and 1.4 blocks this season.