HOUSTON — It took a few tries, but Ime Udoka's Houston Rockets clinched their first win of the young season on Wednesday night. All starters scored at least 17 points, leading to a solid 128-119 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. The win was a positive step for the revamped Rockets, though it came with the setback of Amen Thompson's injury.

The No. 4 overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft and a pivotal part of the Rockets' future, Thompson sustained a Grade 2 ankle sprain in Wednesday's game, mirroring an injury he suffered following a brief yet impressive appearance at Las Vegas Summer League. Although this sprain is on the opposite ankle, eliminating concerns of compounded recovery issues from his previous injury, Thompson is still expected to miss quite some time.

Players typically require 2-4 weeks to recover from Grade 2 sprains, depending on their individual healing process. For Thompson, the timing of this injury could not have been worse

The former Overtime Elite prospect has been rather shaky over the first few games of his career, averaging 6.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists on 40.9% shooting in nearly 17 minutes of play backing up veteran Fred VanVleet. Known for his passing and facilitating prior to entering the league, Thompson has yet to showcase those playmaking skills effectively off the bench.

With an injury likely keeping him out for a month, Thompson's acclimation to the NBA game will no doubt be prolonged. It's a tough development to tipoff what should still be a very promising career. But what does Thompson's injury and resulting absence mean for the Rockets?

Rockets depth faces more challenges

Ime Udoka, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics

With Tari Eason and now Amen Thompson injured, Houston is without two key players from whom they desperately need playing time. It'll be up to Jeff Green, Jae'Sean Tate, Aaron Holiday and Reggie Bullock to replace their minutes. Speaking of Holiday, he took the court following Thompson's injury and performed well in his absence, scoring six points with two threes in 11 minutes.

While Holiday may not possess the playmaking prowess of Thompson, his proficiency as a three-point shooter is subtly impressive, particularly when it comes to assisted three-pointers. Regardless of the team's improved long-range frenzy Wednesday night, making threes consistently is something the Rockets need to improve on moving forward.

Inserting Holiday in the mix off the bench will surely boost the chances they do it. During his tenure with the Atlanta Hawks last year, Holiday not only shot 40.9% from beyond the arc, but also excelled in converting catch-and-shoot triples, hitting an impressive 43.5%. Inserting Holiday in the mix more often could boost the bench's outside scoring, especially because Bullock hasn't been performing as expected.

It's time for Cam Whitmore

Cam Whitmore, Houston Rockets, Cam Whitmore Rockets, Cam Whitmore Jordan Brand

If you're searching for silver linings, Thompson's injury presents more opportunities for Udoka to include rookie Cam Whitmore in the rotation. From a fan perspective, it's quite comical Whitmore has already received three straight DNPs after playing 10 minutes in garbage time against the Orlando Magic.

Houston has not utilized the Summer League MVP's exceptional scoring ability, athleticism, defensive versatility and rebounding prowess to their full potential in the season's early going as he's largely remained on the bench, eagerly awaiting playing time. At 6'7″, Whitmore could significantly enhance Tate and Jeff Green's fast-break efforts with his presence on the court. While his facilitating skills require improvement, they are likely to develop with time and increased opportunities.

That is, if Whitmore is granted them, of course.