KJ Martin rejoins Rockets after clearing NBA’s health, safety protocols

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The Rockets will regain the services of at least one recently absent player in time for their New Year’s Eve matchup versus Miami, with reserve forward KJ Martin now cleared from the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He had missed Houston’s previous two games, both losses.

Martin was a full participant in Thursday’s practice at Toyota Center and said afterward that he felt completely fine. Thus, he’s expected to be ready to go for Friday’s home matchup versus the Heat.

Martin told reporters that he tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday in Charlotte, but negative on Tuesday and Wednesday in Houston. He never had any symptoms and is fully vaccinated and boosted.

Now 20 years old, the athletic 6-foot-6 forward is averaging 7.8 points (53.7%) and 3.4 rebounds in 18.1 minutes. The Rockets traded for the right to select Martin in the second round of the 2020 NBA draft.

Martin’s minutes could potentially go up some in the short-term, since Jae’Sean Tate and Garrison Mathews ⁠— who Martin sometimes competes with for minutes at the forward spots ⁠— still remain in the NBA’s protocol for the time being. Head coach Stephen Silas said after Thursday’s practice that he was hopeful of more players being cleared this weekend, but that he was not yet treating it as the expectation.

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