NBA

Coronavirus: Westbrook cleared for Rockets practice after COVID-19 diagnosis

By Sports Desk July 22, 2020

Houston Rockets star guard Russell Westbrook was on Wednesday cleared to practice for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19.

Westbrook arrived at the NBA bubble near Orlando, Florida on Monday following two negative tests after announcing last week he had contracted the virus. 

"First of all, I'm just thankful and blessed to be able to go out and compete again," the 2017 MVP said while wearing a mask before Wednesday's practice.

"But, just quarantining at home, trying to be productive, obviously not able to get on the basketball floor, but finding ways to kind of stay active and do as much conditioning as I can probably do as far as that." 

Westbrook said he was in good shape before needing to quarantine, and his only symptom was a stuffy nose. 

Although he was able to still do some exercise while self-isolating, the nine-time All-Star urged everyone to take the proper safety precautions to protect themselves against the virus. 

"I'm not a doctor nor a specialist, but I do know that it's definitely something to take very seriously," he said. "To understand that wearing a mask can be [the difference] between life or death honestly ... there are people dying from this virus each and every day and it's something that we all need to take very, very seriously." 

In his first season with Houston after arriving from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the 31-year-old Westbrook was averaging 27.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists prior the league being halted. 

The Rockets will resume their season against the Dallas Mavericks on July 31 and play their first exhibition game against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. 

It is possible Westbrook could play in the first scrimmage if he and the team's medical staff determine he is healthy enough. 

Shaking off the rust, however, is Westbrook's top priority at the moment. 

"I have to see if I can make a layup at this point," he joked. "I got to start there and work my way from there."

Related items

  • Hornets complete sign-and-trade with Celtics for Hayward Hornets complete sign-and-trade with Celtics for Hayward

    The Charlotte Hornets completed the acquisition of Gordon Hayward in a sign-and-trade with the Boston Celtics, it was announced on Sunday.

    Hayward – an unrestricted free agent – moves to the Hornets along with a 2023 and 2024 second-round NBA Draft pick in exchange for a protected 2022 second-round selection.

    While terms of the contract were not disclosed, Hayward has reportedly signed a four-year, $120million deal in Charlotte.

    Hayward was due to earn $34.2m with the Celtics in 2020-21, but the 2017 All-Star opted to leave Boston after three years.

    "We are thrilled to welcome Gordon and his family to the Hornets organisation and Charlotte," said Hornets president of basketball operations and general manager Mitch Kupchak.

    "Gordon is an NBA All-Star, a proven scorer and playmaker and a tough competitor that will fit well into the needs of our team.

    "We believe that his basketball talent, NBA experience and veteran leadership will make a positive impact on our young, talented team as it continues to develop."

    Hayward left the Utah Jazz for the Celtics on a four-year max contract via free agency in 2017, but he endured a difficult time in Boston.

    The ninth pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Hayward suffered a gruesome fractured tibia and dislocated ankle in his first game for the Celtics three years ago.

    Hayward struggled to recapture his best form the following season, and the 30-year-old sustained a broken bone in his hand in November before suffering a sprained right ankle during Boston's sweep of the Philadelphia 76ers in the opening round of last season's playoffs in Orlando.

    He did not return until midway through the Eastern Conference finals against the Miami Heat.

    Hayward averaged 17.5 points, 6.7 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game for the Celtics last season, having averaged 11.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 2018-19.

    Since entering the league, Hayward is averaging 15.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game.

  • NBA preseason to get underway on December 11 NBA preseason to get underway on December 11

    The NBA's preseason will start on December 11 ahead of the 2020-21 campaign, the league announced.

    There will be a total of 49 games during the preseason, which will conclude on December 19.

    Each NBA team will play a minimum of two and a maximum of four games – at least one at home and one away – with the 72-game regular season set to tip off on December 22.

    LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are eyeing back-to-back titles heading into the new season.

    The Lakers ended their 10-year wait for a championship after topping the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals inside the Orlando bubble at Walt Disney World Resort amid the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Lakers' success tied the longest postseason drought in NBA history that a team ended by winning the title, matching the 1977 Portland Trail Blazers.

    James also became the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP award for three different teams, having also been crowned Most Valuable Player with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Heat, as he celebrated a fourth championship.

    Anthony Davis and James became the first pair of team-mates in NBA history to each have 500-plus points and 200-plus rebounds in the same postseason.

  • Barcelona to save €122m after players agree to wage cut Barcelona to save €122m after players agree to wage cut

    Barcelona have reached an agreement in principle with their players over a wage cut that will save them €122million.

    The LaLiga giants were seeking to reduce their wage bill amid financial problems due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    In a statement on Friday, Barcelona confirmed they had reached an agreement in principle with their players.

    Along with the €122m in savings, they also said variable payments of about €50m had been deferred over a three-year period.

    "The agreement, if it is ratified, will be a milestone of great importance to redirect the current economic situation," the club said.

    The agreement is pending ratification in the coming days by the players and coaches affected.

    Barca are believed to have one of the highest wage bills in Europe, and the likes of Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal left the club in the close season.

    Ronald Koeman's side are struggling in 13th in LaLiga ahead of hosting Osasuna on Sunday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.