Russell Westbrook is suspected to have the coronavirus after his erratic Instagram activity and the fact that he and Harden haven’t travelled to Orlando.
Rockets fly to Orlando without Harden and Westbrook
Houston Rockets superstars James Harden and Russell Westbrook were not on the team’s Thursday flight to Orlando for the restart of the 2019-20 season, as first reported by The Athletic‘s Shams Charania.
No reason was given for the absence of the All-Star backcourt, and both former MVPs are expected to join the team “in the near future.” Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported that in addition to Harden and Westbrook, newcomer Luc Mbah a Moute and player development coach John Lucas were also not on the flight.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 9, 2020
Rockets Wire pointed out that neither Westbrook nor Harden were made available when the team had their recent Zoom interviews on Friday, July 3rd.
James Harden and Russell Westbrook were not among the players the Rockets made available on Zoom calls over the last two weeks
— Adam Spolane (@AdamSpolane) July 9, 2020
But another thing that’s noteworthy is in regards to the viral workouts we’ve seen from Harden and Westbrook of late. Russ has been consistently training throughout the break, however, we’ve not seen such a workout video from Russ since June 22nd, which certainly adds to the speculation.
In addition, prior to him posting on his Instagram account today, Russ hadn’t been active since June 28th, which adds even more speculation.
View this post on Instagram
As for Harden, his workouts haven’t been posted as frequently as Russ, but the last one we saw was on June 3rd, which is when he was training alongside former Houston Rockets forward Michael Beasley.
In fact, the last time we saw Harden in public, he was riding on Houston’s Southwest Freeway alongside rapper Lil’ Baby as the two were donning their Lamborghinis. This was on June 25th, which was 14 days before the Rockets departed for Orlando.
Does Russell Westbrook have COVID-19?
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said on June 23 that one Western Conference playoff team had four players test positive in recent weeks. Rockets forward Thabo Sefolosha, who opted out of playing in Florida, said last weekend that some of his teammates had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
As coronavirus testing for players heading to Orlando starts today, teams are bracing for significant numbers of positive tests. One Western Conference playoff team had four positives in past few weeks, per sources. Full training camps start on July 11 at Disney.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2020
However, he did not identify who, how many, or how recently. For medical privacy reasons, teams are not required to report any individual player’s COVID-19 diagnosis. Although, NBA guidelines call for those players to self-quarantine for at least 10 days, and they must test negative on multiple occasions to rejoin the team.
There is growing speculation that Westbrook might be one of those players who tested positive. It doesn’t look like the former MVP has been at home. Nina Westbrook posted something on Instagram about missing Russ the other day and he commented and said he missed them too.
This might hint that Westbrook is in quarantine elsewhere as he’s neither home nor with his team. Houston has a huge spike in COVID cases too so it’s definitely plausible him and Harden both have it even though we hope both of them are safe.