Rockets: How a faulty test almost ended Robert Covington’s career early

Houston Rockets Robert Covington (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets Robert Covington (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

The re-acquisition of Robert Covington has been huge for the Houston Rockets, but there was a time he thought his playing days were over.

It took the Houston Rockets a while to come around on what Robert Covington could add to the team. After they gave him his first shot in the NBA in 2013-14, he only appeared in seven games before being waived. After vastly improving in Philadelphia in Minnesota, the Rockets got their guy back this season when they sent Clint Capela off for the 3-and-D specialist.

In his second stint with the team, Covington has shown why the Rockets had been trying to get him back for quite some time now. The 6-7 forward has instantly become one of the team’s best defenders both out on the wing and in the post.

The road to being an NBA standout has been far from easy for Covington, however, as he recently discussed on an episode of Next Level Leaders with Dr. Joseph Walker, III. “There were so many people that told me I couldn’t do this that it made me want to do it even more because I wanted to prove them wrong,” said Covington.

“I didn’t get invited [to the NBA Draft Combine] at first. I found out through Twitter that I had gotten invited because some people had dropped out. I ended up going to the combine and that’s where I started to turn heads. I put my name right back out there.”

The Rockets’ Robert Covington was told he couldn’t play again

While he was beginning to get the attention of scouts, Robert then recalled a scary moment that happened soon after the workout.

“I had a setback because there was one test, the stress echo test, that basically is just to see how conditioned you are. It tests your heart rate. My test gets flagged because they said that I had an enlarged heart. They told me at that point that I would never be able to play basketball again.”

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Understandably, the news was tough to swallow for Covington, as he continued telling the story: “That was a devastating blow at the time because basketball was my true passion. But I didn’t let it break me.”

Fortunately, not everything was as it seemed when it came to the test results. “I get to this moment where I’m sitting in my mom’s room and something within me is just [thinking] something’s not right,” said Covington.

“Come to find out, we get a second opinion and have them look at the results. They realize that there’s a faulty reading.”

“The machine somehow had broken during the test and that’s what caused the faulty reading. Then I get the reading back and it turns out I don’t have an enlarged heart.”

The full episode can be found here, with the setback story starting at 12:11:

Heart conditions are almost always career-enders in the NBA, so the fact that the test turned out to be faulty is extremely fortunate for everybody.

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Covington has certainly made the most of second chances throughout his life, and he’s proving that again this season.