Russell Westbrook, the Houston Rockets star and a former Most Valuable Player Award winner, said on Monday in a social media post that he had tested positive for the coronavirus. He said he got the results before the Rockets left for Walt Disney World in Florida, where the N.B.A. is attempting to restart its season.
“I’m currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared,” Westbrook said in his statement. He added: “Please take this virus seriously. Be safe. Mask up!”
Westbrook and Houston’s other star guard, James Harden, did not travel with the team on Thursday to the Walt Disney World campus. Luc Mbah a Moute, a veteran forward whom the Rockets signed this month, also did not make the trip. Coach Mike D’Antoni did not specify why, in comments to reporters over the weekend, but said he expected the players to arrive soon.
“These are things that people are dealing with,” D’Antoni said. “We’re not going to get into why not. They’re on their way.”
It was unclear when Westbrook would be able to join the Rockets or when his quarantine period began. According to the N.B.A.’s guidebook on health protocols, Westbrook will be allowed to join others on the campus when he tests negatively for the coronavirus in two separate tests at least 24 hours apart. He must also be cleared by a league-approved infectious disease physician and undergo a cardiac screening.
Some other players who have tested positive for the virus, such as Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan of the Nets, are skipping the N.B.A. restart entirely. Commissioner Adam Silver has said that the league expects there to be more positive cases as players arrive on campus. But even so, Silver has expressed confidence that the N.B.A. season will be able to conclude and that players will be safer on campus than off.
“What would be most concerning is once players enter this campus and then go through our quarantine period, then if they were to test positive or if we had any positive tests, we would know we would have an issue,” Silver told Fortune this month.
The Rockets were 40-24 and tied for fourth place in the Western Conference before the pandemic forced the postponement of the season in March. Westbrook, the team’s second-leading scorer, struggled with his shooting throughout the season but still scored 27.5 points a game while grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out seven assists a game.