David J. Phillip/Associated Press
Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook announced he tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of the team’s trip to Orlando, Florida, and is in quarantine.
“I tested positive for COVID-19 prior to my team’s departure to Orlando,” Westbrook wrote in a statement Monday. “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!”
Westbrook is required to undergo a quarantine period and must pass two COVID-19 tests at least 24 hours apart before joining the team in Orlando. He will then undergo another quarantine period and take additional COVID-19 tests once he is in Orlando, which has been the standard protocol for players who enter the so-called “bubble.”
The Rockets previously announced Westbrook and James Harden did not travel with the team to Orlando. It is not known whether Harden’s absence is related to Westbrook’s. Head coach Mike D’Antoni downplayed concerns in a Zoom meeting with media Saturday.
“I hope [they arrive] sooner than later. I don’t think it will be too many days, so it’ll work itself out,” D’Antoni said. “Some things you can’t control totally, but in a few days, they’ll be here.”
Westbrook was playing some of the best basketball of his career before the NBA season was halted due to the pandemic. He averaged 31.7 points on 52.7 percent shooting, 8.1 rebounds and 6.8 assists in the months of January, February and March, showing vast improvement after a rough start in Houston.
The Rockets are slated to resume their 2019-20 season July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks. Westbrook’s status will be determined by his health, so it’s unclear if he will be available by that time.
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