The Latest on coronavirus and its impact on the Houston Rockets and NBA

Daryl Morey Tilman Fertitta Houston Rockets (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Daryl Morey Tilman Fertitta Houston Rockets (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /

With Wednesday’s shocking events leading to the NBA suspending all games until further notice, the Houston Rockets will be impacted heavily.

If there was ever a time that the phrase “there’s more to life than basketball” applied, it would be now. On Tuesday night, the Houston Rockets were coming off a much-needed victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves and looking forward to a showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Less than 24 hours later, coronavirus struck the NBA and made the future of the league unknown. Events all began unfolding in the opening moments of a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz on Wednesday.

ESPN writer Royce Young was on the scene and updating the world in real-time on Twitter, in what became an increasingly surreal story as the minutes went by.

Something is going on here. Thunder head medical staffer Donnie Strack just grabbed the three officials and told them something. All players were just told to go back to their bench. We’re seconds from tipoff.

— Royce Young (@royceyoung) March 12, 2020

From there, Young explained that both teams were heading back to the locker room over illness concerns from Utah Jazz Center Rudy Gobert. The fear turned out to be a reality, as Gobert became the first confirmed case of coronavirus in the NBA.

The Jazz and Thunder players are currently quarantined in the OKC arena, league sources tell ESPN. This is following Rudy Gobert testing positive for the coronavirus.

— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020

Mere minutes after the case was confirmed, the NBA announced it would be postponing all games.

The NBA has suspended its season.

— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020

Since then, Donovan Mitchell has also tested positive for coronavirus, making him the second positive result out of 58 total tests for COVID-19 given that night. The NBA suspending play for the foreseeable future was undoubtedly the right call, and other sports have since followed suit. This article from CBS Sports is tracking the effect of coronavirus concerns on the sports world with live updates.

With a scheduled call between the NBA’s Board of Governors set for Thursday at 3:30 PM ET, the latest we know about the status of NBA games resuming came from Toronto Star columnist Bruce Arthur Thursday afternoon.

The NBA has told its teams that the league will be suspended for 30 days, minimum.

— Bruce Arthur (@bruce_arthur) March 12, 2020

Obviously, the game of basketball is secondary to the health and safety of humanity, so I would expect a longer delay before we start seeing the league in action again. This unprecedented course of action will have ramifications for not only the Houston Rockets but the entire NBA as we know it.

According to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle, the team was on their way to Los Angeles when they received the news of the NBA halting all games and made their way back to Houston. Now, all the team can do is try their best to stay safe and wait until word comes from the league about what the next steps may be.

While the entire NBA is uncertain about how to approach the hiatus, Rockets Head Coach Mike D’Antoni spoke about how they will handle the situation as of now.

Mike D’Antoni on staying ready:”It’s kind of a shot in the dark since no one’s ever experienced this.I’m sure there’ll be a lot of individual workouts at 1st & then as we find more out, we’ll sprinkle in team practices & try to gear up when it looks like we’re going back to work”

— Mark Berman (@MarkBermanFox26) March 12, 2020

The Rockets are currently seeded at the sixth spot in the Western Conference, just one game behind the Utah Jazz for fourth place. It’s unknown as of now just how heavily the postponement will affect both the remaining regular season and playoffs.

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More should be known soon regarding the NBA’s approach to the situation after the Board of Governors meeting Thursday afternoon, and we will keep this post updated with that news as well as how it will affect the Rockets and the league.

For more information about COVID-19, visit the CDC’s website or the website for your state’s Department of Health.