Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook has been ruled out of Monday night's home game against the New York Knicks because of a sore left thumb, according to Rockets play-by-play announcer Craig Ackerman.
Westbrook has been in and out of the lineup this season while getting regular rest in his first year with the Rockets, though a left thumb sprain in early February caused him to miss one game.
After playing nearly every game in most seasons of his career, the load management could allow him to stay fresher for the stretch run and postseason, as long as he can stay healthy.
The guard remains an elite player when on the court, averaging 27.2 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game and earning his ninth career All-Star selection.
Following three straight seasons of averaging a triple-double, Westbrook has excelled as a secondary option on his new team behind James Harden, still proving to be one of the top offensive players in the NBA.
This also makes his absence a significant one, even with Harden capable of putting up incredible numbers on his own.
Eric Gordon, Ben McLemore and Austin Rivers will take on increased roles with Westbrook unavailable, but the Rockets could suffer offensively.