Nene Hilario Suffers Groin Injury in Game 4 of Spurs vs. Rockets

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2017

MIAMI, FL - JANUARY 17: Nene Hilario #42 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball during the game against the Miami Heat on January 17, 2017 at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

Houston Rockets center Nene Hilario was forced to leave Sunday's Western Conference Semifinals Game 4 against the San Antonio Spurs after suffering a groin injury.

Per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, he was quickly declared out for the rest of the game. He was later sent to the hospital for an MRI, according to Michael C. Wright of 

The center played just one minute before leaving the game, scoring four points off the bench.

Nene is no longer the high-impact player he was during his peak seasons with the Denver Nuggets. He topped out with a 20.4 player efficiency rating in the 2010-11 season, according to Basketball Reference. The veteran post presence still provides solid production on a per-minute basis, though.

The 34-year-old Brazil native has accumulated an extensive injury list in recent years as he appeared in no more than 67 games over the last six seasons. He's dealt with thigh, groin, shoulder and finger problems throughout the current campaign.

If the latest ailment forces him to miss more time, Sam Dekker should see the biggest uptick in frontcourt playing time behind Clint Capela and Ryan Anderson. It could also lead to more chances for Montrezl Harrell as part of the rotation.

After averaging 13.6 points per game during the first-round series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder, it's clear Nene could have a significant impact when playing well. At the very least, he brings stability with usually 15 to 20 minutes a night.

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A lack of depth inside could lead to problems if he is forced to miss more time.