During practice on Tuesday, Tucker revealed that he’s currently dealing with nerve damage in his right shoulder. The injury occurred on Jan. 11 against the Minnesota Timberwolves when Tucker ran into an illegal screen set by Gorgui Dieng.
The injury was initially called a “stinger” by the team despite the fact that Tucker went down within the first two minutes of the game and did not return.
The Rockets forward calls the injury “really hard” and says that only rest can help him heal. Unfortunately for Tucker, he has averaged 36 minutes a game in the past four matches since his injury, including a daunting 41 minutes on Monday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. This also contradicts the sentiment given by head coach Mike D’Antoni to limit the 34-year-old’s minutes.
MDA says in majority of games moving forward, plan is for P.J. Tucker to play around 30 minutes.
— Kelly Iko (@KellyIkoNBA) January 17, 2020
At this point, it might do the Rockets better to limit Tucker and dig into the reserves than to force him to be out on the floor. Since the start of December, Tucker has shot only 29% from three, 37.9% from the floor. Since his injury, he’s shot only 25% from the field and 33% from three on only three attempts a game — that includes zero attempts in 38 minutes against Memphis his first game back since injury.
The Rockets are in the midst of a four-game skid and are in desperate need of a change, and they also have to think of the season long-term. There are still 12 games left until the All-Star break and any chance of real rest for the team. In the meantime, it’ll be up to coach D’Antoni go into the break in the best shape possible, with the best record possible, and regroup for the second half of the season.
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