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Rockets rookie White ready to make D-League debut

The SportsXchange

Royce White is scheduled to make his pro basketball debut Tuesday night in a D-League game for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers against the Maine Red Claws.

White, selected in the first round of last year's NBA draft by Houston, and the Rockets have engaged in a lengthy feud over the player's mental health. The sides finally reached an agreement last month, and the Rockets reinstated White from a suspension.

He reported to the team Monday and took part in Tuesday's shootaround.

"I just feel real fresh and fell ready to go," he told the Houston Chronicle. "I missed it a lot. It was tough not to be able to play, but it was necessary."

Vipers coach Nick Nurse said he expects White to play about 20 minutes Tuesday night.

"We're going to concentrate on knocking some rust off him, obviously he hasn't been on the floor much so we're gonna play it by ear, throw him out there," Nurse said. "It'll probably be a short stint the first time he's out there and go from there."

White was suspended by the Rockets on Jan. 6 for initially refusing a D-League assignment. He said he was dealing with an anxiety disorder and that the team wasn't providing him with the proper treatment. White made a media blitz, appearing on venues including HBO and ESPN, to reiterate that he wouldn't give in to the team's demands and play until he felt his mental health was being dealt with appropriately.

The delay before the start of his D-League stint is to allow White to get back into playing shape.

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