Omer Asik: Knee near '100 percent'

Center Omer Asik, out for the last two months due to right thigh and knee issues, returned to practice for the Houston Rockets on Thursday.

"It's close to 100 percent," Asik said of his knee, according to the Houston Chronicle. "I can't say 100 percent, but it's much better. Hopefully I will get a little bit more practice, then get back on the court."

Asked when Asik will return to the lineup, Rockets coach Kevin McHale said "sooner than later," according to the Chronicle.

Asik suffered the injury about the same time he was removed from the starting lineup and let it be known he wasn't happy.

Asik has wanted to be traded since Dwight Howard signed in July, but his contract, which includes a $15 million balloon payment next season, is a bit of a stumbling block for most teams.

Asik addressed the injury and the rumors Thursday.

"All the other stuff, everybody who says maybe that's not an injury," Asik said, according to the Chronicle. "But doctors and trainers can tell everyone it's real and hopefully I am better now.

"Of course, I always want to play basketball no matter what. This is the first time in my NBA career that I had this long injury. So it has been tough, but I am feeling better now."