In case Russell Westbrook had somehow forgotten that an aggressive play from Patrick Beverley in the 2013 playoffs was what led to his season-ending knee injury, he was reminded in his first meeting with Beverley since then less than halfway through the first quarter.
In virtually the same spot on the floor, as Westbrook slowed down to call a timeout, Beverley briefly grabbed him, causing Westbrook to react to the point where the two players needed to be separated.
The two had been going at each other on multiple possessions leading up to this one.
Beverley’s initial play that ultimately injured Westbrook last season wasn’t dirty at all. This one, however, clearly was intended to get under his opponent’s skin.
Beverley is embracing his role as an agitator this season, and got into it with Damian Lillard earlier this week.
Dwight Howard hasn’t exactly been healthy in recent years. He missed half of last season with various injuries, including a two-month stretch from January to March after undergoing a knee procedure. On Thursday, he told a Houston radio station that the knee problems continued after that, and he had torn ligaments and cartilage during the Rockets’ Western Conference Finals series against the Warriors:
Dwight Howard just told us on Texans Radio that he played through a torn MCL and meniscus during the WCF vs the Warriors
It’s a little alarming that we didn’t hear about this until now. Sometimes these injuries can heal without surgery, but Howard can become a free agent next summer, so you would think he would want to get any lingering issues addressed ahead of time. Considering his age (he’ll be 30 in December) and his injury history, this isn’t a great sign. A healthy Howard is the difference between the Rockets being a legitimate title contender and an als0-ran, so hopefully these problems are behind him and he can stay healthy this season.
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