While there was no official announcement at the time of writing this, it has been reported that Luc Mbah a Moute, who dislocated his right shoulder for the second time this season in Tuesday night's game against the LA Lakers, is likely to miss at least the first round of the playoffs after getting an MRI on Wednesday.
Mbah a Moute has put up modest numbers for the Rockets this season, but his defense and length off the bench has been invaluable. He gives the team flexibility to go very small, putting him at power forward.
He missed a full month of the season with a dislocation of the same arm. During that time, the Rockets defense dipped significantly, but it is worth noting that James Harden, Clint Capela and Chris Paul all missed time during that month. Additionally, the team added Gerald Green during that time and had yet to sign Joe Johnson.
There is no doubt the Rockets are a better team with Mbah a Moute in the lineup. However, this is a very deep team with lots of options at the wing position, especially since adding Green and Johnson. It will likely mean more minutes for Ryan Anderson as well, who has been hobbled with a sprained ankle, but should be fine for the playoffs.
Most likely, Johnson will fill the role of small power forward until Mbah a Moute gets back. He did so against the Lakers and hit a pair of threes in the win.
Considering the likely teams the Rockets will face in the first round (that will have likely been decided by the time you read this), they could probably lose almost anyone save Harden or Paul and get into the second round. But, after that, they will absolutely want to be at full strength to face a team like the Trailblazers or Jazz.
The good news is he does have time to heal and perhaps make a comeback. Additionally, the Rockets are loaded with depth and with only Anderson as the other outstanding injury. Even if they lost Mbah a Moute for the playoffs, they will still be a very difficult team to beat. Let's hope for a speedy recovery though.