Russell Westbrook joining Rockets teammates in NBA bubble after COVID-19 diagnosis

A week after news broke that Russell Westbrook contracted COVID-19, the Houston Rockets guard is joining his teammates in the NBA bubble.

Head coach Mike D’Antoni told reporters on Monday that Westbrook was scheduled to arrive later in the day.

Westbrook wrote on Twitter last week that he was in quarantine but feeling well and encouraged people to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously. He’ll join the Rockets days after teammate James Harden arrived. Harden didn’t initially travel with the Rockets, citing a family matter.

Bubble protocol calls for Westbrook to quarantine in his room upon his arrival until he passes two COVID-19 tests.

Houston Rockets' Russell Westbrook, center, enters the court as fans reach out before the Rockets' NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday, March 5, 2020, in Houston. The NBA has told players to avoid high-fiving fans and strangers and avoid taking any item for autographs, the league's latest response in its ongoing monitoring of the coronavirus crisis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Russell Westbrook is expected to join his teammates at Disney World on Monday. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Rockets core intact with NBA restart looming

Westbrook’s arrival means the Rockets will have the core of their team intact in Orlando 11 days before they’re scheduled to resume their season.

“As a team we're really excited,” Rockets forward Danuel House said. “We're finally getting our full team together, it's gonna be fun.”

The Rockets are slated to face the Dallas Mavericks in the bubble on July 31, a day after the league returns with a pair of games on July 30. The 40-24 Rockets are in sixth place in the West, but sit just one game behind the fourth-place Utah Jazz and 2.5 games behind the third-place Denver Nuggets in the standings with eight games remaining before the playoffs.

Of course gaining a top-four seed doesn’t mean as much this season with home-court advantage not playing a factor in playoff series.

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