Rockets preparing for James Harden, Russell Westbrook return
Just two weeks before the restart of the 2019-20 season, the Houston Rockets are gearing up for the return of their stars: James Harden and Russell Westbrook.
At this time, Westbrook is not with the team yet after testing positive for the coronavirus on Monday. However, this doesn’t mean that he’ll be written off completely from the Rockets’ campaign. Harden, meanwhile, is already in Orlando but still has to clear the protocol—a 36-hour quarantine in his hotel room—before joining the team. According to head coach Mike D’Antoni, James’ presence is a “big step.”
“It’s one step [toward] getting complete, and now we’re missing getting Russell [Westbrook] in here and getting Luc Mbah a Moute here,” D’Antoni said, per Michael C. Wright of NBA.com “But James is a big step. It’ll be seamless. We’ve just got to make sure everybody gets in shape, and everybody’s ready to play. But we’ve had some great practices and [we’re] looking forward to getting James in here.”
D’Antoni also believes that Harden will suit up for the Rockets’ first scrimmage game against the Toronto Raptors on July 24.
“I think so,” D’Antoni said. “Next week, yeah, without a doubt. James loves to play. So, I would expect after the first couple of days, we’ll get him geared up. Then, starting probably around Sunday he’ll start scrimmaging with the guys, maybe even before. He loves to play. It wouldn’t surprise me if he comes right out of the chute ready to go. But, definitely by next Friday, he’ll be 100%.”
The Rockets’ first game in the season restart is with the Dallas Mavericks, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, and the San Antonio Spurs.
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