The Houston Rockets are now in the NBA’s “bubble” city, located at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. But their star point guard Russell Westbrook has remained behind.
Westbrook revealed Monday, July 13, that he tested positive for the coronavirus before his team left for Florida. His announcement comes a little less than two weeks before the NBA will resume on July 30, after being suspended in March once the virus began spreading in the U.S.
“I tested positive for COVID-19 prior to my team’s departure to Orlando,” wrote Westbrook on Twitter and Instagram. “I’m currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared. Thank you for all the well wishes and continued support. Please take this virus seriously. Be safe. Mask up!”
NBA teams began making their way to the bubble location last week, with some posting photos of where they’re residing and meals they’ve been served.
Other members of the Rockets, including James Harden and Luc Mbah a Moute, also didn’t travel to Florida with the team. But head coach Mike D’Antoni didn’t reveal the reason, nor did he tell the press about Westbrook’s diagnosis.
“These are things that people are dealing with,” said D’Antoni Sunday on Zoom. “We’re not going to get into why not. They’re on their way. We’re still expecting them in a few days. It will be soon. It’s not going to be long. You never know, but we think we’ll get them back in here by the middle of the week.”
Since testing positive for COVID-19, Westbrook will have to go through the NBA’s safety protocol of being tested daily before he can join his team.
The one-time league MVP winner can join them once he tests negative for the virus twice.
He’ll then have to be tested more after arriving at Walt Disney World and self-quarantine for two more days. Harden and Moute will also have to isolate themselves for 48 hours and have two negative tests before joining the team.
But despite the Rockets not having their full squad to practice and scrimmage, D’Antoni said that he’s not worried about them being ready for the playoffs.
The Rockets’ record stands at 40-24, and they’re tied for fifth place in the Western Conference with Westbrook’s former team the Oklahoma City Thunder.