It was a surprise when we found out James Harden and Russell Westbrook didn’t travel with the Houston Rockets, but Mike D’Antoni gave a vague update Saturday.
When the Houston Rockets traveled to Orlando on Thursday, they were missing some crucial guys. It was announced that Russell Westbrook and James Harden weren’t on the flight to the NBA bubble, which was unsettling, to say the least.
A reason was never officially given to the media, leading to Space City Scoop and other outlets to only be able to speculate about what might be the reason.
On Saturday during a media Zoom call, Mike D’Antoni still didn’t offer an explanation, which is likely due to privacy concerns, but he did say when he expects the superstar duo to re-connect with the rest of the team.
Coach D'Antoni confirms that James Harden and Russell Westbrook are not with the team yet in Orlando, but said he expects them in 3 or 4 days. #Rockets
— Cayleigh Griffin (@cayleighgriffin) July 11, 2020
D’Antoni on When He Expects the Duo to Re-join the Houston Rockets
If D’Antoni’s guess is correct, that would mean Harden and Westbrook should be joining the team on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. “I don’t think it’s going to be too many days. In a few days, they’ll be here. It won’t set us back,” assured D’Antoni on the call. “I hope it’s sooner than later.”
The fact that no specific timetable is being set for the return of the MVP backcourt has raised the obvious suspicions that they may have contracted COVID-19 or been in contact with someone that had it recently, but again, it’s important to note that nothing official has been reported in that regard.
The Houston Rockets, meanwhile, held their first practice on Saturday — the first step in getting back in sync as a group in their preparation for a playoff run.
Coach D'Antoni on today's practice: "We went over all of our offense and defensive principles in film…It's going to be a process, and everyday we'll adjust our practice to how they're feeling." #Rockets
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) July 11, 2020
With any luck, the Rockets won’t have to wait much longer to have their star players back in the mix as they look toward their first scrimmage game on July 24th against the Toronto Raptors.