Tonight's scheduled game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder has been postponed, according to NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski. The events leading up to the postponement gave several hints toward this course of action, but now the decision seems to have been made final.
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Due to various reasons, the Rockets don't have the minimum number of players to field a team. They had three players who returned COVID tests that were either positive or inconclusive and another four players who are quarantined due to contact tracing. Additionally, James Harden is unavailable due to violating the league's COVID protocols and one other Rocket is unavailable due to injury.
Houston Rockets players break COVID protocol, season opener postponed
News of the games' postponement should not be much of a surprise to Rockets fans. Reports of Rockets star players James Harden, John Wall, and other team members being out at night clubs circulated the NBA newsfeed all morning. The NBA has established very strict policies on COVID protocol, and has been enforcing these policies with an admirable level of consistency. Harden, Wall, and company can expect to be placed under a precautionary lockdown, and will have to await the league's approval on their availability to return.
According to the NBA's Health and Safety Protocol: "Players violating the safety guidelines may face a loss of pay proportionate to any lost availability due to quarantines or reinstatement steps. Other penalties may include formal warnings, fines, suspensions or educational sessions."
Read more about the NBA's COVID health & safety policy here.
No punishments have been handed out by the NBA yet, however taking the proactive measure to postpone tonight's game was likely in the best interest of everyone involved with both the Rockets and the Thunder.
The rescheduling of the matchup between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder has not been set by the NBA's league officials yet, but we can expect more news in the near future as the story continues to unfold.Published 24 Dec 2020, 04:31 IST