Report: Russell Westbrook to make Houston Rockets debut on Oct. 8

Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Russell Westbrook (Photo by Bill Baptist/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The highly anticipated debut of Russell Westbrook with the Houston Rockets is reportedly set for Oct. 8 against the Toronto Raptors.

While the Houston Rockets will be playing Monday and Friday evenings this week, it will likely be a little bit longer until fans can see Russell Westbrook donning the red and white in preseason action. Since the preseason is six games long, Coach Mike D’Antoni and the Rockets are making a smart decision resting Russ for a couple of games before officially joining the club on the floor.

As Alykhan Bijani reported on Sunday, there is no injury concern surrounding the decision to sit Westbrook for one more week. Considering the eight-time All-Star had arthroscopic surgery on his right knee one year ago, there is no reason to put him out on the court in early exhibition games when the regular season will undoubtedly see him playing heavy minutes.

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Shams Charania cited Bijani and Houston Rockets writer Kelly Iko as he gave more information regarding when fans can expect to see Russell on the court for the first time:

Sources with @Rockets_Insider, @KellyIkoNBA: Rockets star Russell Westbrook is expected to sit first two preseason games and make his Houston debut when team plays Toronto Oct. 8 and 10 in Japan.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) September 30, 2019

The decision is beneficial in another way, as the delay in playing Russ will also give the team a chance to see what other guards such as Ben McLemore can do on the floor. Mike D’Antoni recently said during Media Day that he plans to mostly play a 10-man rotation but just what that rotation is might not be fully set yet.

Last preseason, The Houston Rockets saw firsthand that anything can happen at any time when rising young San Antonio Spurs point guard Dejounte Murray went down with an ACL tear while facing Harden and company last October.

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While waiting to see such an extraordinary talent like Russell Westbrook on the court is difficult, the Houston Rockets are making the right call in not putting him out on the floor quite yet.