Covid-19 measures could cut down Rockets options - report

·2-min read
US media report the Houston Rockets could be without several players for their NBA season opener because of Covid-19 concerns

The Houston Rockets could be without new signings John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins for their NBA season opener on Wednesday after a teammate tested positive for Covid-19, US media reported.

In their official injury report before the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Houston, the Rockets listed rookie Kenyon Martin Jr. as in self-isolation.

According to ESPN and The Athletic sports website, Martin tested positive for coronavirus and the others could miss the game -- on the second night of the fledgling season -- due to contact tracing protocols.

"Wall, Cousins and Martin were among the Rockets players gathered Tuesday night at a player's apartment away from the team's facility to receive haircuts," ESPN reported, citing anonymous sources.

The Rockets had already recorded another positive coronavirus test, that of backup guard Ben McLemore.

The Rockets debut of All-Star point guard Wall has been eagerly awaited since he arrived in Houston earlier this month in a trade for Russell Westbrook.

Wall hasn't played an official game since December 2018 because of injury but in three pre-season games he averaged 16.3 points and 5.3 assists.

Cousins, signed by the Rockets as a free agent, had signed with the Los Angeles Lakers in July of 2019 but tore a knee ligament and missed all of the 2019-20 season.

It is more turmoil for a Rockets team that is reportedly dealing with a disgruntled star in James Harden.

Harden, the league's top scorer the past three seasons, has been at trade-demand reports and was a latecomer to training camp.

On Wednesday, ESPN reported that the team and the league were investigating Harden for possible violation of NBA coronavirus prevention protocols after video surfaced on social media that apparently showed him at a club without wearing a mask.

League officials are reportedly attempting to verify the incident which occurred this week.

Harden himself issued a statement on Instagram, denying the video shows him at a strip club.

"One thing after another," Harden wrote. "I went to show love to my homegirl at her event (not a strip club) because she is becoming a boss and putting her people in position of success and now it's a problem.

"Everyday it's something different. No matter how many times people try to drag my name under you can't."

However, as the league tries to launch its season in teams' home arenas amid the pandemic, protocols prohibit players from attending gatherings of more than 15 people.