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Christian Wood will start Friday vs. Magic [UPDATE]

Rockets big man was forced to miss Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers due to a knee injury.

Christian Wood of the Houston Rockets smiles during the game against the Sacramento Kings on January 2, 2021 at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.  Photo by Cato Cataldo/NBAE via Getty Images

UPDATE: Jan. 8, 6:27 p.m. — Wood will start for the Rockets on Friday night against the Magic. He is coming off one missed game due to a knee injury. This will force Cousins back to the bench, so he becomes a less viable play overall. The Rockets are already favored by 6.5 points so we should see that line jump up with the Magic shorthanded.

UPDATE: Jan. 7, 3:33 p.m. — Wood is being listed as questionable again for Friday’s game vs. the Orlando Magic. He was forced to miss Wednesday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers due to a knee injury. Boogie Cousins started in his place and was productive, but the Rockets weren’t able to pick up the win. Danuel House Jr. has also been ruled out on the injury report due to back spasms.

UPDATE: Jan. 6, 6:31 p.m. — Wood has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. the Pacers. Cousins will start in his place. Boogie is an OK value option if he sees around 20-25 minutes. The Rockets could go small ball and play Tucker at center a bit, though Indy’s size may cause some problems.

UPDATE: Jan. 6, 5:33 p.m. — Wood is being considered a game-time decision for Wednesday vs. the Pacers.

Houston Rockets PF/C Christian Wood is questionable to play in Wednesday’s game vs. the Indiana Pacers due to a knee injury. Wood has been one of the top free agent signings from this offseason and is betting favorite to win Most Improved Player as a result. He played 33 minutes and scored 23 points in the Rockets’ loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. We don’t exactly know when the injury popped up and became an issue. It could just be the Rockets getting Wood some time off if he’s ruled out Wednesday.

If Wood is ruled out against the Pacers, there are a few plays that open up. The Rockets will likely opt to insert DeMarcus Cousins ($4,300) into the starting lineup. It’s either the veteran or rookie Jae’Sean Tate ($3,600) who will end up starting. Both players, along with PJ Tucker ($4,000), would become strong value options. With 11 games, however, we’ll likely have a ton of value. Boogie hasn’t been great off the bench for Houston, averaging 12.5 fantasy points per game over the last five. Tate has seen a lot of run and we know what Tucker’s capable of doing.

The Pacers just jumped from 1.5 point favorites to 2.5 points favorites after the Wood news. If he’s ruled out, Indiana would be in a very strong spot at home against a Rockets team that lacks depth and size. Sure, there’s always James Harden and John Wall, but the Pacers also have pretty good perimeter defenders in the Holiday Bros and Malcolm Brogdon. These injury swings have gone either one way or the other, no in between it seems. So either the Pacers will come out and crush the Rockets or Harden and Wall would be enough to keep things close.