Carlos Delfino has a fractured bone in right foot. Out for the playoffs.— Jason Friedman (@JasonCFriedman) May 3, 2013
Rockets.com reporter Jason Friedman says Delfino believes he injured his foot while dunking on Kevin Durant:
Delfino says he believes he aggravated injury when he dunked on Durant. Says recovery time will be 4-6 months. Rules out national team play— Jason Friedman (@JasonCFriedman) May 4, 2013
The Rockets' official website notes Delfino's injury will require offseason surgery. Upon hearing the news, general manager Daryl Morey released a statement on behalf of the team:
Carlos has played a large role in our success so far this season and we are disappointed for him that he will not be able to finish out this playoff run. Carlos would love nothing more than to be out there with his teammates as they prepare for tonight’s Game 6, but this is the type of injury that requires a surgical repair. We expect he will be fully recovered in time for the start of next season.
The 30-year-old Delfino was scoreless in only 10 minutes of action in the Rockets' 107-100 Game 5 victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. He missed the entire second half due to discomfort in his injured foot.
In the four contests prior to Game 5, Delfino has received at least 23 minutes of action and averaged 11.3 points per game. Though he doesn't get the press of his more-famous teammates, Delfino found a niche in Houston as a floor-spacing wizard who could knock down three-pointers and work as a primary ball-handler in a pinch.
Delfino’s injury will only cast a larger burden on Jeremy Lin, who is expected to return from injury for Friday’s Game 6. Lin will be expected to be a instant contributor off the bench, as coach Kevin McHale has settled into a rotation with Patrick Beverley and Francisco Garcia at the two guard spots.
Garcia and Chandler Parsons may also see an increase in minutes and responsibility. Delfino gave McHale an interesting wing weapon, as he could vacillate between guard and forward spots in the Rockets’ high-octane offense.
As Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle notes, Houston may even have to rely on James Anderson—inactive for the series’ first five games—if foul trouble arises:
Delfino key for Rockets all season as a stretch four. Will rely heavily on Parsons, Garcia. Anderson would have to go if foul trouble.— Jonathan Feigen (@Jonathan_Feigen) May 3, 2013
Even if dusting off Anderson is unnecessary, Delfino's injury puts the Rockets in an untenable position heading into Game 6 on Friday night. Houston, down 3-2 in its series with Oklahoma City, is trying to become the first team in NBA history to recover from a 3-0 series deficit to advance.
While history still may be made, Delfino's injury casts another shadow of doubt over already seemingly insurmountable odds.