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by: Kris Gardner, United States Basketball Writers Association member. Credentialed media member since 1997. USBWA approved online journalist. Voter of Katrina McClain, Naismith, USBWA, and Wooden awards.
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Rockets 3rd Day of practice at the NBA Restart
Posted: July 13, 2020 -- 9:05 p.m. CT
Earlier Monday, Houston Rockets' guard Russell Westbrook announced he's tested positive for COVID-19. Westbrook tested positive before the Rockets left for Orlando. He's in quarantine; and, he plans to join the Rockets once he's medically cleared.
This evening, after the Rockets' third practice in three days, Head Coach Mike D'Antoni, Jeff Green, and Robert Covington were asked their thoughts about Westbrook's testing positive for COVID-19.
D'Antoni said, "I know that this is killing him not being here. It's an obstacle that he has to overcome; and, there's nobody better equipped to overcome it than him."
"Most importantly, just making sure he's healthy," Green said. "That was my biggest concern. Making sure he's good. Making sure he's doing what he has to do to get healthy. I wasn't really too concerned with basketball. I think health is more important than trying to hurry him back on the court. My biggest concern was making sure he was okay.
Green continued, "When he said he was fine, you just wait and be patient until he's able to join the team."
"We just gotta be there to support him," Covington commented. "It's a tough thing to deal with it. You never thought that you (Russ) would be the one to catch it. But, like I said, we just gotta be there for our teammate. It's hard for him to not be here with us, of course. We know he has to take care of his family; take care of himself before he can actually come down here and join us. It's a thing that we're all going to be in together and support him to make sure that he's uplifted and keeps himself going."
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James Harden and Luc Mbah a Moute have not yet traveled to Orlando. No details have been mentioned why they did not travel with the team to Orlando last week.
"They're working out on their own," D'Antoni acknowledge. "And, when they get here, they'll be able to hit the court running which will be huge. We'll be careful."
Despite being short-handed (the Rockets are also without forward Bruno Caboclo who inadvertently broke quarantine and is now in quarantine again), D'Antoni is not concerned with any difficulty about their absences.
"I mean there always is (something); but, if it's not the virus, then, we're always dealing with sore hamstrings; a muscle pull here; a turned ankle there. You deal with what you got. We're all used to it; and, we're not going to be anxious because we have time. We've just got to be very careful about getting these guys not ramped up too much that we meet this; but, then, guess what, we went too hard or whatever. We've got to be ready - especially when the playoffs start which is August 17th.
"We'll try to be ready August 1st when we have our first game; and, then, we'll go from there. It's not perfect; but, I think we have plenty of time to do that."
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