Dec. 14, 2007, 11:28PM By JONATHAN FEIGEN

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

Francis' knee OK

Steve Francis returned to practice Friday after getting a day off from Thursday's workout, saying he had no problem with his right knee.


"I went to see Russ (Paine, a Houston rehabilitation specialist)," Francis said. "It was nothing major. I'm cool. It's great. I went to get extra work done."


Francis said he was sore but that the knee did not cause him any problems in his starts against Toronto and Philadelphia. He did not play Wednesday against Detroit.


"Just trying to keep some maintenance," Francis said. "I don't want to break down at all. That Toronto game, I was beat. That was my first game starting. I was pretty sore the next day.

X! 那是我今年第一次先發耶!第二天真的很痛。」

"Hopefully, when I get a chance to get back on the court, I'll be able to prove myself."


Alston out

An MRI performed on Friday on Rafer Alston's sore right groin muscle did not show further damage, but Alston will be held out of tonight's game against the Dallas Mavericks.



Point guard Aaron Brooks was called back from the NBA Development League and will be available to play tonight. Brooks averaged 23 points, 5.5 rebounds and five assists in two games with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

新秀Aaron Brooks被摳回來,並且可以在對小牛的比賽出場。
Brooks在小聯盟打了兩場的平均數據:23分 5.5籃板 5.0助攻

A tribute to Mutombo

The Rockets announced on Friday that the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation would be the beneficiary of the annual Tux & Tennies charity event March 27 at Toyota Center.

The Biamba Marie Mutombo hospital was opened Dec. 1 in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The Foundation is fundraising to open a women's and children's pavilion in 2008.

"What he has built in Africa is amazing for one person," Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said. "As a tribute to him and the man he is, we're privileged and honored to help him. Now he is going to open a women's and children's center, which is going to help tens of thousands of people."

"This event is special with the work Dikembe has done for his people back in his homeland."



Stick with what works

The Rockets have had trouble responding to opposing teams' runs, but that has been especially an issue against the Mavericks.

The Rockets have had second-half leads in many recent games against Dallas, but have lost nine of their past 10 meetings.

In their most recent game against Dallas, the Rockets led by 17 in the second half and by 14 in the fourth quarter, the fourth-largest fourth-quarter lead ever in a Rockets' loss.

"We just need to stick with what got us the lead," Rockets forward Shane Battier said. "So often in basketball, you forget what works. When you're playing against good teams, they make you pay. Whatever we're doing, hopefully, to get a lead, we need to keep doing. That's the formula for

"What it boils down to in all our games in which we lost leads was just energy, hustle sometimes."