Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium is reporting that John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins are among the Houston Rockets players facing a seven-day quarantine period, after possibly being exposed to COVID-19.
The Rockets have several players — including John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and possibly more — currently facing seven-day quarantine per NBA contact tracing protocol, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) December 25, 2020
The news of the potential quarantine comes only a day after the Rockets were forced to postpone their season-opening match against the Oklahoma City Thunder, due to an outbreak of the Coronavirus among Houston's players. While it is not clear where the spread may have originated from, three Rocket players are known to have received positive or inconclusive test results. Though NBA guidelines allow for limited infections among teams when determining whether or not to proceed with games, the league's contract tracers ruled out several different players beyond the original three, bringing Houston below the eight-man mark needed for matches to commence.
Separately, NBA commissioner Adam Silver also announced that he had fined Rockets star James Harden $50,000 for violating Covid protocols. Maintaining that the punishment levied on Harden was not believed to be the cause of Houston's outbreak, Silver explained that the fine was the result of the guard attending a Christmas party at a local club earlier in the week. Not only was Harden in violation of the prohibition against players visiting bars and nightclubs during the pandemic–agreed to by the league and players association–he was also seen attending the event while failing to wear a mask.
As of now, the Rockets are expected to begin their season against the Portland Trailblazers Saturday night. Whether or not Harden, Wall, or Cousins will join their teammates, however, is unclear.
The Rockets' long journey through the new NBA season is just beginning. The team has to find a way to get its COVID-19 situation under control — not just for itself, but also in order that the Association can carry off this non-bubble season with the fluidity needed to complete the season on time, before the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. NBA players are expected to compete in the Olympic basketball tournament… but not if the season has to be pushed back.