It’s been a rough couple of days for the Houston Rockets leading up to their season-opener against Oklahoma City tonight. But it seems that things won’t be getting much better today.
According to NBA insider Shams Charania, a number of top Rockets players are expected to miss the game due to coronavirus contact tracing. Per the report, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins headline the list, but others could miss the game too.
The report comes mere hours after video emerged of James Harden partying at an event without a mask. Harden has since addressed the video, which the NBA and the Rockets are reportedly investigating.
Unsurprisingly, Harden is also expected to miss the opener due to contact tracing. Though in his case, some might argue that’s exactly what he wants.
As for the game, it is still slated to be played in Houston this evening.
Several Houston Rockets, including John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and possibly more, are expected to miss tonight's season opener vs. OKC due to coronavirus contact tracing, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 23, 2020
ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported shortly afterwards that John Well has tested negative for coronavirus. But he’s still been sent home because another player tested positive.
Houston guard John Wall has tested negative for the coronavirus, but is among a group of Rockets sent home today because of a positive test of another teammate, sources tell ESPN. That other player is getting tested again to confirm he's contracted the coronavirus, sources said.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) December 23, 2020
The NBA has opted against using the “bubble” that served them so well in the NBA playoffs.
That decision naturally opens the league up to significantly more positives or needs for contact tracing since the players aren’t being as carefully monitored.
But the NBA didn’t have the luxury of keeping its players under that level of restriction for seven months.
No matter who is to blame for the current predicament with the Houston Rockets, it seems likely that we’re going to see even more stars forced to miss games for a similar reason.
But at least there’s a season to be interrupted in the first place.