But the Rockets' starting backcourt tandem of shooting guard James Harden and point guard Jeremy Lin will play after they sat out their team's practice Thursday. Harden knocked knees with the Milwaukee Bucks' Monta Ellis during a Rockets loss Wednesday night, while Lin tweaked his right ankle.
Tonight is a critical game for Houston, which leads the Los Angeles Lakers for the Western Conference's final playoff spot by just two games.
"I don't have time and the luxury of just sitting out and worrying about the knee," Harden said after the Rockets finished their shootaround at Amway Center minutes ago. "We've got a bigger goal, and that's trying to make the playoffs. I'll just ice it up and be ready to go."
Harden, who is averaging 26.4 points per game, said he initially was worried he wouldn't be able to play against the Magic. But ice and treatment have helped.
"I need to start wearing knee pads and shin pads and everything — a whole body suit," Harden quipped.
Nelson hurt his left knee late in the Magic's loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 27.
X-rays and an MRI revealed Nelson has a contusion of his patellar tendon. The injury is not considered especially serious, but team officials aren't rushing him back.
Lin said his sore ankle is feeling "a lot better."