When Russell Westbrook and James Harden did not travel with the Houston Rockets to Walt Disney World, questions lingered. On Monday, the team received some clarity.
Westbrook finally attributed his absence from the NBA Bubble to a positive coronavirus test. He tested positive prior to the team’s trip to Orlando.
— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) July 13, 2020
The Rockets point guard appears to be doing well, but still must quarantine before going to Orlando. Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni implied that Westbrook is itching to return to the team.
“I know this is killing him not to be here,” D’Antoni said. “It’s an obstacle he has to overcome, and there’s nobody better equipped to overcome it than him.”
Westbrook might not be the last domino to fall in Houston
For Mike D’Antoni and the Rockets, the hope is that Westbrook is not the only one equipped to overcome COVID-19. There is a real possibility that another Houston player could test positive in the near future.
The possible suspects? Harden and the newly acquired Luc Mbah a Moute. Neither traveled with the team to Orlando. While the reasons for this are undisclosed, there is a chance that either could test positive for the coronavirus.
In addition, Houston forward Bruno Caboclo left his room during the initial quarantine period at the Orlando bubble. This adds insult to injury for the Rockets, who have four players forced to quarantine before returning to the team.
Next steps for Rockets
When the players arrive to the bubble, they must quarantine for 48 hours in their rooms before practicing with their team again. Westbrook must quarantine for 14 days before heading to Orlando. Therefore, he is in jeopardy of missing Houston’s first game against the Dallas Mavericks on July 31.
“They are working very hard as a team not to view this as a setback,” said ESPN’s Malika Andrews. “They still expect to be ready in a couple of weeks when games are actually being played.”
There is reason for concern regarding Houston’s playoff chances. However, Andrews explained how D’Antoni will overcome the obstacles at hand and give his team the best possible chance to win.
Sound used in this story courtesy of ESPN and ABC Newscall.