Finally, full power rockets

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — During Thursday’s Rockets practice inside the Golden 1 Center, the gym was more crowded and the energy louder than a typical Rockets practice.

It wasn’t just that the Rockets were one day away from a triumphant road win over the Spurs on Wednesday, though that may have played a part. There were just more bodies on the ground.

The Rockets rejoiced in their first full-fledged practice of the season, with no names to submit to the injury and illness list. Rockets coach Stephen Silas said he expects all players to be available for a series of games against the Kings on Friday and Sunday. Center Alperen Sengun, who has missed the last seven games with a sprained ankle, was the only Rocket on the injury report and is cleared to return.

“I was telling everyone before watching the movie, this is the first time we’ve had a healthy, available full squad,” Silas said. “We had three teams in training today which is great, and then we had a lively 4 v 4 game instead of 2 v 2 or 1 v 1. So yeah, that was great.

One of the benefits of a fully available squad, especially in practices, is that the Rockets can allow players who aren’t getting significant minutes of play to get more reps on live defensive coverage and coverage. opponent-based while veteran players watch closely to better absorb tactics, instead of just watching a movie.

As practice wrapped up Thursday, the Rockets had 16 players on the field, including two-way contract players Trevelin Queen and Daishen Nix. Guard John Wall, who has yet to play for Houston this season as he and the Rockets work on a trade, was the only missing player.

A handful of players, including fullback Jalen Green, fullback DJ Augustin, striker KJ Martin and forward Jae’Sean Tate, shot at one end of the field. On the other end, Rockets player development coach Barb Turner led a group of reserves in a 4-on-4 drill, late in the clock, as Silas observed. Turner counted down from eight seconds on each possession in two teams – one consisting of David Nwaba, Usman Garuba, Queen and Nix; the others Armoni Brooks, Josh Christopher, Garrison Mathews and Sengun – have stopped playing defense and attack.

Moments of intensity mixed with moments of levity, like when Tate and Martin engaged in a 3-point shootout (Tate won with six straight marks) or when Rockets assistant John Lucas pranked everything the gym by simulating an injury.

This could be the new normal, Silas said, making sure to add, “knock on wood.”

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