Houston Rockets point guard Jeremy Lin missed the last two playoff games against the Oklahoma City Thunder due to a chest injury, but he has been cleared to play in Game 6 on Friday night, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle. Patrick Beverley has played well during Lin's absence, and he will remain the starting point guard. Head coach Kevin McHale plans to bring Lin off the bench.
The Rockets won Games 4 and 5 without Lin, and McHale isn't going to risk shaking things up too much going into a do-or-die contest at home:
"Our guys have a little bit of rhythm in this series, as Oklahoma City has a rhythm in the series. To be thrown out there - that's why we have to be a little bit careful. Jeremy hasn't played in a while. And not only has he not played, he hasn't been able to shoot and do anything with any kind of contact for ... a week or so or longer.
"We'll bring him off the bench and see how much juice he has in the tank. It's hard to enter a series when you haven't played in a while, but we're going to try to keep what we have going. Jeremy, we'll try to fit him in there, see how he is and see how his arm feels. If he gets hit or anything happens."
The 24-year-old guard has struggled against OKC in the playoffs. Through three games he has posted 4.3 points on 25 percent shooting, 2.7 assists and 2.3 turnovers per game over 23.7 minutes per contest. In Game 3, he shot 1-of-6 from the field. If he struggles again on Friday night, don't expect McHale to leave him in to work through the issues. The stakes are too high for Houston, as it's another potential elimination game.