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4 things to watch in Houston sports this week

Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander walks in the dugout after pitching to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of a spring training baseball game, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander walks in the dugout after pitching to the St. Louis Cardinals in the first inning of a spring training baseball game, Tuesday, March 3, 2020, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

HOUSTON – Sports are back! It’s a big week in the Houston sports scene. Here are the four most important things you’ll see this week:

Houston Astros deal with rotation woes

Justin Verlander will miss at least the next two weeks, if not more with a forearm strain. Losing Verlander makes the whole Astros rotation shaky, with the Astros No. 2 starter (Zack Greinke) struggling in his first start, and the No. 3 starter (Lance McCullers, Jr.) in his first season removed from Tommy John surgery. The presumptive No. 4 starter (Jose Urquidy) is out with a mysterious malady, leaving pitchers like Josh James and Framber Valdez to pick up the slack. The Astros face the Los Angeles Dodgers Tuesday and Wednesday and are throwing Valdez and -- we don’t know.

Dash championship celebration

What a week for the Houston Dash! Houston’s NWSL team won the NWSL Challenge Cup, taking down the Chicago Red Stars 2-0 in the Challenge Cup Final.

The Dash come back from Utah and will be celebrated Monday, and possibly throughout the week.

Rockets tip-off Friday

The national TV late game is an intra-Texas rivalry between the Rockets and Mavericks, which has huge playoff seeding implications. The NBA is back and with zero positive COVID tests, everything looks good in the bubble. A skinnier James Harden and Eric Gordon could be the keys to a huge run for the Rockets.

Texans start training camp

The NFL and NFLPA agreed to a health-and-safety deal, meaning training camp starts on time. Tuesday, players will officially report to training camp and right now it looks that the NFL season is going to start on time.