Houston’s Wednesday night opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed after Covid-19 cases. Harden’s violation of the league’s Covid-19 protocols also caused the Rockets lose the league-mandated eight players available.
That was a dispiriting blow to the league on just the second day of an unsure season launching with the epicdemic still raging.
The NBA announced the suspension in a release, saying that three Rockets players had tests that were either positive or inconclusive. They added that four other players were quarantined due to contract tracing.
They also said that Harden was unavailable for the match due to a violation of Covid-19 protocols of the NBA after video of the star surfaced on social media where he was not wearing a mask at a crowded party on Tuesday night.
This was a distraction to the team after months of rumors that Harden wants to be traded. His latest move potentially threatened the health and safety of the Rockets and prevented them from beginning their season.
The league’s announcement indicated that Harden being shown in violation of the Covid-19 protocols was the key factor in his team not having the eight necessary players to join games.
There are 16 players on Houston’s roster, including seven dealing with tests or quarantine and one hurt. Therefore, the club has left eight eligible players, which is the NBA minimum to start a game. And Harden’s unavailability lowered the club’s total of available players to seven.
According to Houston’s injury report on Wednesday morning, Ben McLemore and KJ Martin were not with the team due to being self-isolating; meanwhile, DeMarcus Cousins was questionable due to a sprained right ankle.
In terms of Oklahoma City, the alub was involved in the March 11 game which led to the NBA shutting down for the Covid-19 pandemic and the Thunder were to have been the home team for a game against Utah that night, postponed after Jazz center Rudy Gobert appeared to be the league’s first player to test positive for the virus.