Jabari Smith Jr. hopes to return on Wednesday

Jan 23, 2023; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. (1) shoots in pregame warmups prior to the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Toyota Center. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

Jabari Smith Jr. hopes to return on Wednesday

After practice ended on Tuesday afternoon, Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr. took to the Toyota Center floor to play some pickup in order to test the ankle that has forced him to miss the last two games.

“I’m feeling good,” Smith said. “Gonna play today and see how I feel for tomorrow.”

Smith sprained his right ankle in the third quarter of the Rockets’ loss to Charlotte last Wednesday. Smith says he is pain-free and expects to be able to play against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

“If he’s healthy, he’s gonna play,” Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said. “If he’s healthy, he’s gonna play.”

Smith said he wants to wait until he’s 100% before returning to action, and he thinks watching the last two games from the sideline has been beneficial.

“It’s a whole different perspective when you’re watching it and not playing. You see little things, you can watch the whole game, see how different runs happen because when you’re in the game, you don’t really see it until you watch film and really know, but just watching the game, you can really see the nitty-gritty and the stuff that really wins and loses basketball games.”

The third pick of last June’s draft is averaging 12 points and seven rebounds per game as a rookie while starting 44-of-47 games. He is fifth among all rookies in scoring and third in rebounds.

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