Omer Asik closer to practicing

Houston Rockets coach Kevin McHale is hopeful that center Omer Asik, who has missed two months as he recovers from a right thigh/knee issue, will be ready to return to full practices and maybe game action in seven to 10 days.

"Everything is not a definite," McHale told the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday. "We're 'hoping for' is what I'm getting. We really need Greg Smith or Omer to get back. They're starting to do a little bit more. Both have been without a basketball in their hand, actual live playing for so long."

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.

The NBA trade deadline is Feb. 20.