Originally posted on Fox Sports Houston  |  Last updated 3/12/12
HOUSTON In the midst of a brutal stretch of defeats that might have undermined their postseason aspirations even with a fully functional roster, the Rockets discovered on Sunday that starting point guard Kyle Lowry will be sidelined for two to four weeks with a bacterial infection. Lowry leads the Rockets in assists (7.2 per game) and ranks second in scoring (15.9 points per game) and third in rebounding (5.3 per game). He has missed the past two games of the Rockets current five-game road trip, including Sunday nights 118-107 loss in Cleveland to the Cavaliers. Lowry was hospitalized when the team arrived in New York in advance of Saturdays victory over the Nets, and he is scheduled to return to Houston on Tuesday as the Rockets (22-20) cap their road trip at the Western Conference-leading Thunder (32-9) in Oklahoma City. The Rockets have dropped six of seven games and have plummeted to eighth place in the West. They sit in a precarious position, one game ahead of the Timberwolves, who recently lost rookie point guard Ricky Rubio for the season with a torn ACL, and one game in the loss column up on the Trail Blazers, whose roster began the season ravaged by injuries. If Lowry were to miss four full weeks, he would return in time for the final 10 games beginning with a crucial showdown against the Trail Blazers in Portland on April 9. That game would be the finale of a four-game road trip through Chicago, Los Angeles (against the Lakers) and Sacramento. The 14-game stretch starting against the Thunder and concluding against the Kinds also includes road games against the Clippers, Suns and Mavericks, all Western Conference playoff hopefuls. Losing Lowry within a week of the trading deadline qualifies as poor timing. The Rockets have been in pursuit of a "star" since the lockout ended and NBA commissioner David Stern nixed their deal to land Lakers forwardcenter Pau Gasol. General manager Daryl Morey has worked feverishly to elevate the Rockets above mediocrity they are 107-99 since the start of the 2009-10 season and have finished ninth in the West two consecutive seasons by acquiring assets that he could in turn flip to land a singular talent capable of aiding that cause. Playing without Lowry for an extended stretch lessens the Rockets postseason chances, further complicating their trade decisions. In his second full season as a starter, Lowry has blossomed into a fringe All-Star. While the Rockets are desperate for interior scoring, rebounding and defense, they have been hesitant to include Lowry in any projected deal. He is ascendant, entering his prime (Lowry will turn 26 on March 25) and a relative bargain, with the Rockets owing Lowry just 11.96 million between 2012-14. His toughness and productivity make him an ideal player to build around, and the Rockets appear willing to do just that. On a roster full of assets, Lowry is untouchable. While Lowry completes his full course of antibiotic treatments, the Rockets will attempt to hold on with Goran Dragic and Jonny Flynn. Against the Nets and Cavaliers Dragic averaged 21.5 points (on 60 percent shooting) and eight assists, and when Lowry missed back-to-back games against the Thunder in early January with a bruised foot, Dragic averaged 15 points and 9.5 assists. Flynn, however, last played on Jan. 28 before serving as the backup to Dragic against the Nets. Without Lowry the Rockets will have to tread water unless Morey can swing a deal that might not elevate the team above its middling status. The Rockets have gone from a quandary to a full-blown conundrum. Follow me on Twitter at moisekapenda
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

76ers trading Ersan Ilyasova to Hawks for Tiago Splitter, pick

Budapest drops 2024 Olympic bid, leaving only Los Angeles and Paris, which could ban some participants

DeMarcus Cousins was ‘praying’ for a better supporting cast with Sacramento

Report: Nets trading Bojan Bogdanovic to Wizards

Elliott spoke with police after 'best friend' caught with gun

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Jets reportedly believe Jay Cutler can compete in AFC East

Report: 'Melo could waive no-trade clause for Clippers after season

Rivers: Paul medically cleared to play, could return Thursday

Trea Turner missed part of Nats camp Wedneday for jury duty

Hernandez's prison calls to Pouncey could come up in trial

Josh Hamilton experiences pain in reconstructed knee, leaves camp

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

Box Score 2/22: Not everyone is happy with the new intentional walk rule

Teams and players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Box Score 2/21: It's trade heartbreak season

The guard tandems you'd want in a 2-on-2 tournament

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The top 10 MLB third basemen heading into spring training

The Aesthetic: Pushing the boundaries of the three-pointer

NBA coaches who should be fired soon

QUIZ: Name every MLB pitcher to win the MVP award

Teams, players who could be dealing at the NBA trade deadline

As NHL trade deadline nears, seven teams who could be dealing

Nintendo is finally, thankfully embracing sports and eSports

The 'Did the Kings just make the Pelicans into a super team?' quiz

Will the Timberwolves start showcasing their potential?

'Playmakers' in Ice Cube's league who can help the Cavs

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker