LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The Utah Jazz will be without injured point guard Ricky Rubio when they open their NBA second-round playoff series against the Houston Rockets on Sunday, the team said Saturday.
‘‘Ricky Rubio (left hamstring strain) is out tomorrow for Game 1 in Houston,’’ the team confirmed in a brief statement as ESPN reported the Jazz fear the Spaniard could be sidelined for 10 days.
Rubio exited Friday’s series-clinching 96-91 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first quarter, not long after a behind-the-back pass to teammate Rudy Gobert.
Rubio missed several games late in the regular season with soreness in his left hamstring.
Rookie Donovan Mitchell, who took over the bulk of point guard duties after Rubio’s departure, tweeted his support.
‘‘We gon hold it down for you Rick!’’ Mitchell posted on Twitter on Saturday.
But Rubio’s absence is a big blow for the Jazz as they prepare to tackle a Rockets team whose 65-17 regular season led the league and was a franchise best.