Rising Rockets star Alperen Sengun leaves game in wheelchair after frightening fall

Alperen Sengun, left, left Sunday's game against the Kings in a wheelchair. (AP Photo/Randall Benton)
Alperen Sengun, left, left Sunday’s game against the Kings in a wheelchair. (AP Photo/Randall Benton)

Houston Rockets center Alperen Sengun left Sunday’s game against the Sacramento Kings after a frightening fall under the basket.

He suffered the injury in the final minute of Houston’s 112-104 win while contesting a transition layup by Domantas Sabonis.

Sengun landed awkwardly on his right leg, then his head snapped back toward the basket’s stanchion as he fell to the court.

He eventually needed help from his teammates into a wheelchair. He placed his head in his hands as he was wheeled across the court toward the Houston locker room.

The nature of the injury wasn’t initially clear.

Sengun, 21, has emerged as one of the NBA’s most promising young centers in his third NBA season and is key to Houston’s rebuild and youth movement. In 62 games before Sunday, Sengun averaged 21.2 points, 9.4 rebounds, five assists, 1.2 steals and 0.7 blocks while shooting 53.7% from the floor and 29.7% from 3-point distance. He scored a career-high 45 points in a matchup against Victor Wembanyama last Wednesday as the Rockets beat the San Antonio Spurs, 114-101.

With 18 games remaining, the Rockets are a long-shot to qualify for the Western Conference play-in at 29-35, 5.5 games behind the 10th-place Golden State Warriors. But any injury of significance is a blow to Sengun’s and Houston’s development as the Rockets continue to build after posting the second-worst record in basketball last season.

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