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NBA Houston Rockets

Kyle Lowry’s 2012 Return Looks Bleak

Kyle Lowry attended today’s shootaround with his Houston Rockets teammates for the first time since being diagnosed with a frightening bacterial infection earlier this month, an encouraging step in his uncertain recovery.

But in an interview with Rockets.com writer Jason Friedman, Lowry sounded doubtful about his ability to return to the court in 2012.

Before the infection surfaced, Lowry, Houston’s regular starting point guard, was a strong candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award and a near-nightly triple-double threat with rough averages of 15, 5, and 7 for the season.

After an early March game in Toronto, however, Lowry felt severe flu-like symptoms, played anyway, and then could barely move in the postgame locker room due to chills. He went to receive an MRI for an unrelated groin injury, and once his temperature shot up nearly four degrees (to 104) within an hour, he was immediately placed in the hospital with the aforementioned bacterial infection.

The scary part is that Lowry’s doctors have no idea how he contracted the infection, and if he hadn’t checked on his groin issue, then his infection may have lingered long enough to be life-threatening. Lowry has no timetable for a return, doesn’t finish his antibiotic cycle until April 7th, has reportedly lost 15 pounds, and still has the groin strain to worry about once his physical health improves.

Such a laundry list of misfortunes doesn’t exactly make a hopeful return for the playoffs sound promising. At this point, Rockets fans should just be thankful that Lowry is alive and on the road to good health again. It sounds as if his infection was much more serious than originally expected, plus he has to regain much of his strength (Lowry said that while he feels eons better, he is still weak/lightheaded) once the infection is banished. And for a player whose game relies heavily on bruising drives to the basket, losing any of the heft that made such physical forays possible is cause for concern and reason to believe that Lowry has a long road of weight-lifting ahead even once the sickness is warded off.

Regardless of whether he plays again this season or not, Lowry’s teammates have raised their respective games in his absence and are playing as well as they have all season. The postseason is in clear view, although the seed is muddled. Lowry’s health and well-being are much more valuable than having an extra horse for a playoff push, but the elephant in the room does persist; can Houston’s stars ever stay healthy? Are the Rockets cursed? Trail Blazers fans would like a say in the argument, but the sheer amount of injury-related misfortune to afflict the Rockets in the 2000s is becoming a bit tiresome. Stay tuned, and get well soon, Kyle.