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Rockets’ Clint Capela returns to practice, expected to play vs. Lakers on Thursday

Clint Capela

Houston Rockets starting center Clint Capela returned to practice on Thursday, and barring a late setback, Capela is expected to play on Thursday against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Capela underwent surgery on his right thumb after suffering torn ligaments. He has been out since Jan. 14.

In 42 games this season for the Rockets, Clint Capela is averaging 17.6 points, 12.6 rebounds, 1.5 assists, and 1.8 blocks per contest. The 24-year-old is shooting 63.1 percent from the field and 62.6 percent from the free-throw line.

Houston signed Kenneth Faried while Capela was injured. If Clint does return to action on Thursday against the Lakers, Faried will come off the bench and be the backup center.

Faried has been a great addition for the Rockets. He’s putting up 15.9 points and 10.3 rebounds in 12 games with Houston.

With Chris Paul and Clint Capela back joining James Harden, the Rockets have their Big Three back for the stretch run of the season. Houston is 33-24 on the season, good for fifth place in the Western Conference standings. Capela gets all of his baskets from Harden and Paul, who collapse the paint on their drives to the basket, freeing Capela for alley-oops.

Harden said at the All-Star game he’s excited for the second half of the season because the team is getting healthier. Capela is a big piece to the puzzle for Houston.