The Houston Rockets game against Oklahoma City Thunder has been postponed due to positive or inconclusive COVID-19 tests.
The game’s cancellation came just a few hours before the team’s home opener at the Toyota Center.
Four other players have been quarantined after contact tracing. According to a statement, James Harden, who was set to start in Wednesday’s game, was unavailable due to a violation of the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
In a previous social media post, Harden was seen without a mask while at a group event.
With no Florida bubble, the players have to abide by strict rules. While in Houston, Rockets players can’t go to bars, clubs, or lounges. They can’t attend a live sporting event or social gatherings of more than 15 people.
On the road, they can only eat at approved restaurants, and eat outdoors, or in private rooms. The Rockets say the game will be rescheduled, and fans will receive information on how to attend.
Another Rockets star, John Wall, who tested negative for coronavirus, is among a group of players sent home Wednesday afternoon because of a positive test of another teammate.
The Rockets disclosed Tuesday that guard Ben McLemore is in self-isolation and out for Wednesday night’s regular-season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder. McLemore tested positive days ago, sources said. He is not the teammate whose positive test initiated contact tracing on the team Wednesday.
The game was nine months in the making. Something fan Savannah Davis drove hours to enjoy.
Davis made the trip because the Rockets were going to play the first regular-season game with fans since March. But her emotions came out when she learned it was postponed a couple of hours before tip-off.
“I cried in my car. I was going to cry out here when you stopped me, but I’m not going to cry on TV because that’s awkward,” Davis told.
But she wasn’t the only disappointed fan. Instead of Toyota Center employees scanning tickets, a few of them informed fans the game was off.
After waiting months to see the Rockets play, it’ll at least be another week before they get another opportunity on New Year’s Eve night.
Read the NBA’s full statement on its website.