Steve Mitchell/USA Today
Steve Mitchell/USA Today

The Houston Rockets championship hopes just took a hit today, as starting point guard Patrick Beverly has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a wrist injury that requires surgery. Beverly and the Rockets were hoping to delay the surgery until after the season, but it became increasingly clear that it could not be delayed.

Beverly was the Rockets best perimeter defender, and could lock-down opponents point guards defensively, very important in a point guard dominated league. Veteran’s Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni have stepped up in Beverly’s absence, as Houston is 9-0 in games that Terry starts, but playoff basketball is a different beast.

In the ultra-competitive Western Conference, it will be hard for the Rockets to advance relying solely on James Harden (which they have done much of the year). Dwight Howard will need to show he is healthy and ready to play big minutes in order for the Rockets to make a run.

Houston currently sits in second place in the Western Conference, just a half game up on the third seeded Memphis Grizzlies. With less than ten games to go, it is crucial for the Rockets to stay-put as the second seed.

The Golden State Warriors who have locked up first place, will be playing the most dangerous eighth seed in NBA history, the Oklahoma City Thunder, who minus Kevin Durant could make their first round series very interesting. If the Warriors fall at all throughout the playoffs, the Rockets will acquire the coveted home court advantage. Not to mention the third place team in the West will currently draw the reigning champion Spurs in the first round. Yikes.

The Rockets will need a lot to fall in their favor in order to successfully advance through the Western Conference playoffs, but as the NBA has proven this year, anything is possible.

Dan Schalk is the head writer for MFST, you can follow him on Twitter @ffsportstalk

Dan SchalkAnalysisBasketballNBANews and UpdatesHouston Rockets,Memphis Grizzlies,NBA,San Antonio SpursThe Houston Rockets championship hopes just took a hit today, as starting point guard Patrick Beverly has been ruled out for the rest of the season with a wrist injury that requires surgery. Beverly and the Rockets were hoping to delay the surgery until after the season, but it...Why go anywhere else for sports and entertainment?