Ryan Anderson Expected to Return from Ankle Injury Before End of Regular Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist

SACRAMENTO, CA - NOVEMBER 25:  Ryan Anderson #3 of the Houston Rockets dribbles the ball against the Sacramento Kings during the second half of an NBA basketball game at Golden 1 Center on November 25, 2016 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Houston Rockets forward Ryan Anderson injured his ankle Friday against the New Orleans Pelicans, and it is uncertain when he will return to action.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported Anderson will be out Tuesday against the Golden State Warriors and will miss the Rockets' three-game road trip, which will end April 2 against the Phoenix Suns. Feigen noted Anderson is expected back before the end of the regular season.

Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters it will take two weeks for Anderson to return and that the team will be cautious.

Anderson, 28, was excellent for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2015-16, averaging 17 points and six rebounds per contest. Few players on the Pelicans were more productive, making Anderson an intriguing option once free agency hit over the summer.

The Rockets swooped in, signing him to a four-year, $80 million deal. He was a huge addition for a team that underwent an identity shift with D'Antoni taking over and the additions of shooting guard Eric Gordon (who was also on the Pelicans last year) and center-forward Nene. Dwight Howard also left to join the Atlanta Hawks.

Anderson was the perfect addition to the high-tempo, floor-spacing system D'Antoni installed. With James Harden as the focal point and Anderson putting pressure on defenses from his stretch-4 role, the Rockets have attacked teams and rank second in the league with 115.5 points per game.

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Anderson's notched 13.5 points and 4.7 rebounds per contest this season while shooting 39.8 percent from three-point range, and Houston has emerged as one of the primary threats to the Warriors in the Western Conference. Golden State is averaging 116.1 points per game.

With Anderson sidelined, Montrezl Harrell will see more minutes, and Sam Dekker's role will likely expand as well. Certainly, the Rockets have options. But replacing Anderson's production will be difficult.

    

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