Rookie center Alperen Sengun returning to lineup for Rockets


Two weeks after spraining his right ankle on New Year’s Eve, 19-year-old rookie center Alperen Sengun is poised to rejoin the team’ s rotation when the Houston Rockets travel to Sacramento on Friday night.

The 6-foot-10 big man has averaged 9.0 points (50% FG), 4.8 rebounds, and 2.6 assists in 18.4 minutes this season while becoming a vital part of Stephen Silas’ rotation with the Rockets. Given Houston’s clear rebuilding plan with an emphasis on developing younger players, Sengun appears likely to earn more minutes as the 2021-22 season progresses.

“I was telling everybody before we watched film, this is our first time having a full group healthy and available,” Silas said after Thursday’s practice via Danielle Lerner of the Houston Chronicle. According to Lerner, who is with the team in Sacramento, the Rockets had 16 of their 17 rostered players on the court Thursday — with John Wall, who is sitting out as part of a mutual agreement, as the lone exception.

Sengun, drafted at No. 16 overall in the 2021 first round, will presumably return to his previous role as Christian Wood’s backup at center. Houston (12-31) enters Friday with a rare combination of health and momentum, having pulled off a 128-124 win on Wednesday in San Antonio.

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