Russell Westbrook Suffers Hand Injury in Rockets' Final Preseason Game vs. Heat

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 19, 2019

MIAMI, FL - OCTOBER 18: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets handles the ball against the Miami Heat during a pre-season game on October 18, 2019 at American Airlines 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 2019 NBAE (Photo by Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images)
Issac Baldizon/Getty Images

Houston Rockets point guard Russell Westbrook suffered a sore right hand in a preseason game against the Miami Heat on Friday and did not return, per Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Westbrook played 29 minutes and posted 16 points, four assists, four steals and three rebounds. Feigen reported that the ex-Oklahoma City Thunder star grabbed his hand and ran to the locker room in the fourth quarter.

Houston cannot afford to be without Westbrook for significant time in the loaded Western Conference given his status as one of the best players of his generation.

The 2016-17 league MVP is an eight-time All-NBA selection, eight-time All-Star, two-time scoring champion and two-time assist champion who averaged a triple-double in each of the last three seasons.

How he would pair with James Harden is one of the most intriguing storylines entering the 2019-20 season. They played together with the Oklahoma City Thunder early in their careers, but both have won MVPs since, with Harden turning into a far more transcendent superstar than he was at the time.

Fortunately for Houston, it can still turn toward Harden to initiate the offense as a de-facto point guard if Westbrook is forced to miss time. He did that for the majority of last season and can create his own shot or facilitate for others.

Look for Austin Rivers to see more time as well, but the Rockets need a healthy Westbrook to challenge the best teams in the league.

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