Boston Celtics

Feb 29, 2020; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook (0) during the first against the Boston Celtics quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth,

The NBA may have to restart without one of its premiere players. Rockets guard and 2017 league MVP Russell Westbrook announced via Instagram that he has tested positive for COVID-19.


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Westbrook had not yet joined his teammates in the NBA’s Orlando bubble. He and James Harden had been late arriving for previously undisclosed reasons. Harden’s absence has still not been explained.

In order to be eligible to return under the NBA’s bubble policy, Westbrook will need two negative COVID tests in a 24-hour period. He also needs to be symptom free and to be cleared by a league physician.

The Rockets are scheduled to play their first game in the bubble July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks. That gives Westbrook 17 days to meet all necessary guidelines. Lucky for the team, they have already locked up a playoff spot, and the post season doesn’t begin until August 17, which is a much more manageable 34 days away.

Before the Coronavirus stoppage, Westbrook was averaging 27.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. In his first year as Houston’s point guard, he led the second-highest scoring offense in the NBA.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at