Rockets at Bucks: Friday’s lineups, injury reports and broadcast info

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Eight days ago, the Rockets pulled off a shocking upset victory against the Bucks, led by a historic 50-point game from second-year guard Kevin Porter Jr. Now, as Houston pays its return visit to Milwaukee on Friday night, the Rockets are scrambling to find enough players to play.

After spraining his left ankle on Wednesday, Porter is unavailable, as are seven other members of the team. Another player is doubtful, while four are questionable. Of the 17 players currently under contract for Houston, only four (Armoni Brooks, Anthony Lamb, DaQuan Jeffries, and KJ Martin) are not listed on the massive 13-player injury report.

The Rockets are poised to sign young guard Khyri Thomas to a 10-day contract, but it’s not yet clear if he will be available for Friday’s game — since the NBA has strict entry protocols this season for new players due to COVID-19 testing requirements. As of late Thursday, the deal with Thomas was not yet official, and thus the team had yet to comment on whether he might be available to help with the roster shortage.

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Assuming the Rockets are able to find enough bodies to avoid a postponement, here’s when you should tune in to see Friday’s game:

  • Date: Friday, May 7

  • Time: 7 p.m. Central

  • TV Channel: AT&T SportsNet Southwest

  • Live stream: fuboTV (watch for free in Houston markets)

Probable starting lineups

Houston Rockets (16-50)

  • Guard: DJ Augustin

  • Guard: Armoni Brooks

  • Forward: Jae’Sean Tate

  • Forward: Kelly Olynyk

  • Center: Christian Wood

Milwaukee Bucks (42-24)

  • Guard: Jrue Holiday

  • Guard: Donte DiVincenzo

  • Forward: Khris Middleton

  • Forward: Giannis Antetokounmpo

  • Center: Brook Lopez

These lineups assume that players listed as questionable will be made available to play. However, that’s very much up in the air. Christian Wood and Jae’Sean Tate, who each sat out on Wednesday, were upgraded to questionable for Friday’s matchup versus the Bucks.

For a game to proceed, NBA teams must have at least eight players dressed out and technically available. However, a team can choose not to play certain “active” players. For example, on Wednesday, the Rockets met the eight-man requirement by having Augustin — who was listed as questionable with a left ankle sprain — on the active list. However, he did not ultimately play. Once Porter went out, Houston used only six players (Brooks, Jeffries, Lamb, Martin, Kelly Olynyk, and Avery Bradley) for the game’s duration. Now, of that grouping, Bradley is out for personal reasons, and Olynyk is questionable with right ankle soreness.

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Friday’s game seems to be more complicated, since at the moment, Houston isn’t even assured of having enough available bodies to fill out a five-man starting lineup. In addition, the Rockets likely need to be cautious with bringing back any injured players, since they’re on a road back-to-back. Houston is scheduled to play at Utah on Saturday.

Understandably, given those widespread injuries, the Rockets did not practice on Thursday. As a result, there were no updates from head coach Stephen Silas about the situation. Assuming there is no postponement, which would have to be agreed to by the league office, Houston’s next media availability session will come on Friday in Milwaukee.

The injury report for the Bucks is much shorter, with sparingly used reserve Axel Toupane (right oblique) as the only confirmed absence. Former Rockets forward PJ Tucker is probable with neck soreness. As the home team with the Eastern Conference’s No. 3 record, Milwaukee was always likely to be a substantial favorite — and the contrast in injury reports only further exacerbates Houston’s problems.

Note: This post first appeared on Rockets Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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