By Adam Spolane

With 1:39 left in the second quarter of the Rockets 108-96 win over the Charlotte Hornets at Toyota Center, Rockets forward Luc Mbah a Moute came down awkwardly after driving through the lane for a 2-handed dunk.

“I thought it was his knee at first,” Rockets guard James Harden said.

A stretcher was brought out on the floor, but Mbah a Moute didn’t need it. He walked off the floor with Rockets trainer Keith Jones, and the Rockets announced about 15 minutes later that he wouldn’t return due to a left shoulder injury. After the game, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said the Rockets forward dislocated it and that he’ll have an MRI on Thursday.

“He had it back in place and all that, but there’ll be some damage. I hope not, but surely there’ll be something, so he’ll be out a little bit, hopefully it’s not too long.”

After signing a one-year deal with the Rockets in July, Mbah a Moute is averaging seven points per game in 23 games this season, but he’s had a larger impact on the Rockets defense, which is sixth best in points allowed per possession. His absence means others will have to step up.

“You hate to lose him, but that’s where the depth has to come in,” D’Antoni said. “Eric (Gordon) can play (small forward), P.J. (Tucker) can move back to the three (position). So I just hate him for him. One, personally, and two he’s playing great, and for the team you just don’t want to lose, but hopefully it’s only a week or two.”

We’ll see how long it takes him to get back, but he’s a key piece to what we’re doing, and where we’re trying to go,” Harden said.

Wednesday’s win was the Rockets 11th in a row, and they own the NBA’s best record at 22-4. They’ll look to up their win streak to a dozen when the San Antonio Spurs visit Toyota Center Friday night.


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