By TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer/ BNC Contributor
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Russell Westbrook of the Houston Rockets said Monday that he has tested positive for coronavirus, and that he plans to eventually join his team at the restart of the NBA season.
Westbrook made the revelation on social media. As recently as Sunday, the Rockets believed that Westbrook and James Harden — neither of whom traveled with the team to Walt Disney World near Orlando last week — would be with the team in the next few days.
In Westbrook’s case, that now seems most unlikely.
“I tested positive for covid-19 prior to my teams departure to Orlando,” Westbrook wrote on his Instagram page. “I’m currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared.”
Westbrook is averaging 27.5 points, eight rebounds and seven assists per game for the Rockets this season. Houston has clinched a playoff spot and resumes its season with the first of eight seeding games on July 31 against Dallas.
Westbrook also offered a word of caution in his post.
“Thank you for all the well wishes and continued support,” he wrote. “Please take this virus seriously. Be safe. Mask up!”
Westbrook’s announcement came on another day where case numbers in Florida and Texas — two of the nation’s coronavirus hotspots — keep rising to levels that have officials and residents deeply concerned.
At the NBA bubble, however, optimism that the rules established by the league and the players will work — even though some Disney parks reopened to visitors over the weekend and the MLS restart, also at the campus, has seen two teams leave after a spate of positive tests.
“Our protocols are unbelievable,” Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry said Monday. “I think our protocols and our health and safety measures have been top-notch. I think this thing will work perfectly. … We’re doing everything that we can possibly do to make sure that we’re healthy, we’re safe and we’re in an environment where we can be successful and do our jobs at a high level.”
Officials in Houston have called for that city to lock back down as area hospitals strain to accommodate patients sick with the coronavirus. And in Florida, more than 12,000 new coronavirus cases were confirmed Monday.