Before they were even able to reach the Orlando NBA bubble, Rockets superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook have apparently been sidelined by COVID-19. Most of the members of the team and staff for the Rockets arrived in Orlando last week and began workouts over the weekend. Reports on the missing stars when they did not arrive with the team were that they would get to Orlando shortly.
On Monday, Westbrook posted online that he had tested positive and was feeling well. Later in the day, it was reported by Elite Media that Harden, too, was infected though there has been no confirmation from the team or Harden. Assuming he is infected, Harden and Westbrook will miss a minimum of 14 days in quarantine and will need to test negative twice before they are allowed inside the bubble in Orlando. Just the 14 days alone would cause the players to miss the team's first game against Dallas.
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Additionally on Monday, the NBA announced that only two players in Orlando, neither of whom had broken quarantine, tested positive. They left the campus and were quarantining. Since Westbrook and Harden had not yet reached Orlando, they didn't fall into those numbers. They join a group of 19 other players who have tested positive prior to reaching Orlando.
If that weren't enough, newly signed Luc Mbah a Moute has yet to join the team with no explanation and backup center Bruno Cabolclo unintentionally broke quarantine in Orlando and now must quarantine for 14 days and undergo additional testing.
Not a great start for the Rockets who were considered by some a dark horse candidate for reaching the Finals. If all goes well, they should be at full strength early in the final seven games of the season, but no practice time and no time getting ramped up into shape will certainly set Westbrook and Harden back in a very compressed time frame.
While the NBA seems to be doing a reasonably good job in the Orlando bubble, the Rockets are already two men down before the games even start.