Houston Rockets All-Star guard Russell Westbrook has confirmed he is in quarantine after testing positive for coronavirus.
Westbrook and fellow All-Star James Harden had been notable absentees as the Rockets arrived in Orlando, Florida for the NBA’s resumption later this month.
“I tested positive for Covid-19 prior to my team’s departure to Orlando,” Westbrook said on Monday in a statement released on social media.
“I’m currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining my team-mates when I am cleared.
“Thank you for all the well wishes and continued support. Please take this virus serious. Be safe. Mask up!”
Rockets head coach Mike D’Antonio said on Sunday that he was expecting Westbrook and Harden to join the team by the end of the week, but Houston’s preparations have now been dealt a major blow with one of their star players unable to rejoin the roster until just before the season resumes on July 31.
Westbrook, who was traded to the Rockets from the Oklahoma City Thunder last summer, has averaged 27.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game this season.
The 2016-17 MVP initially struggled in his new surroundings, before beginning to thrive amid a change to the Rockets offensive system, and earning his ninth All-Star appearance in February.
The Rockets 40-24 record has already guaranteed them a place in the Western Conference playoffs, but their remaining regular season games hold great importance in regard to seeding, with third and seventh places separated by just four games.
However, the Rockets preparations were dealt a further blow as forward Bruno Caboclo was ordered to self-quarantine in his hotel room for another eight days after he “inadvertently” broke quarantine at the NBA’s complex in Florida.
ESPN reported on Monday that Caboclo left his room during the self-quarantine period upon arrival at the Grand Floridian last week, with the Brazilian claiming he had misunderstood the rules.
The NBA mandated personnel to stay in their rooms last week until testing negative for COVID-19 each of the two days immediately after their arrival, with the policy attempting to ensure that everyone who enters the bubble is free of the virus before they can interact with others.
The Rockets acquired Caboclo from the Memphis Grizzlies at the trade deadline in February, but he has played only sparingly.
The 24-year-old is viewed as an athletic center. He’s 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-7 wingspan and could be used as an interior defender for a team with no defined big man. Caboclo is the second-tallest player on Houston’s restart roster.