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Clint Capela expected to play in Game 1 vs. Jazz despite missing practice with illness

Rockets, Clint Capela

Houston Rockets big man Clint Capela is expected to play in Game 1 of the first round playoff matchup agains the Utah Jazz, despite missing Thursday’s practice with an illness, according to Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.

“He’s been under the weather the last two days,” said head coach Mike D’Antoni, who recently came back from an illness of his own. “I don’t think; he better be (back on Sunday.) He better not be as soft as I was.”

D’Antoni was confident his center would return in time for action after suffering from an upper respiratory infection. D’Antoni missed the final three games and two practices of the regular season with an intestinal virus that kept him away from the team.

Capela is bound to prove a massive asset to have against Rudy Gobert, another lob-catching machine who is coming off his best season yet, averaging 15.9 points and 12.9 rebounds per game in 2018-19.

The Swiss center averaged 9.0 points on 38.7 percent shooting with 12 rebounds and 3.0 blocked shots per game against the Jazz this season. Though he was much more productive in last season’s playoff series, which the Rockets won 4-1, averaging 13 points on 59.2 percent shooting along with 10.2 rebounds and 3.6 blocked shots through five games of the second-round matchup.

Houston will have the home court advantage against the fifth-seeded Jazz, something that could prove vital for an energy player like Capela, who feeds off the chants from the crowd.