Rockets News: Isaiah Hartenstein Out for Summer League with Ankle Injury

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJuly 10, 2019

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 9: Isaiah Hartenstein #55 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against the Sacramento Kings on July 9, 2019 at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Houston Rockets power forward Isaiah Hartenstein will miss the remainder of the 2019 Las Vegas NBA Summer League after suffering an ankle injury in Tuesday's 94-92 win over the Sacramento Kings at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported the update and provided comments from Rockets assistant coach Matt Brase, who's leading the team's summer-league coaching staff:

"He shot the 3 and stepped back and tweaked it a little bit. Don't know the severity of it yet.

"It's a loss of (opportunity to) showcase himself to our organization, what he has. But we know Isaiah. He had a phenomenal year in the G League this year, being the Finals MVP. We've seen him do a lot of really good things. We wish we could get him to stay healthy and play all the games out here in Summer League. But we got to get him healthy and make sure he's ready when we're starting back up in September."

Hartenstein was impressive for the Rockets before the injury, averaging 16.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, 1.7 blocks and 1.7 steals while shooting 47 percent from the field across three summer-league appearances.

The 21-year-old Oregon native was selected by the Rockets in the second round of the 2017 NBA draft after starting his professional career in Europe. He spent one season apiece with the Artland Dragons in Germany (2015-16) and Zalgiris Kaunas in Lithuania (2016-17).

After a full campaign with the G League's Rio Grande Valley Vipers in 2017-18, he split last season between the Vipers and the Rockets.

Hartenstein averaged a mere 1.9 points and 1.7 rebounds across 28 appearances for Houston. He played just 7.9 minutes per game.

His potential was more on display in the G League. He averaged 19.4 points, 14.9 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 blocks across 26 regular-season games. He put up 24.0 points and 15.2 rebounds per game in the playoffs as the Vipers went on to win the G League championship.

In April, he told Scott Harrison for The Monitor that he wanted to become a full-time member of the Rockets' rotation next season.

"This year, we have three big guys in front of me, so we'll see what happens," Hartenstein said. "Next year I will have to prove I deserve the backup role, and then we'll see from there. Next summer will be a big summer. I'll work a lot and prove I deserve that role."

The injury is a setback in those efforts, but as long as it doesn't lead to a long-term absence, he should still contend for a roster spot during training camp and the preseason.

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