NBA

Coronavirus: Westbrook cleared for Rockets practice after COVID-19 diagnosis

By Sports Desk July 22, 2020

Houston Rockets star guard Russell Westbrook was on Wednesday cleared to practice for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19.

Westbrook arrived at the NBA bubble near Orlando, Florida on Monday following two negative tests after announcing last week he had contracted the virus. 

"First of all, I'm just thankful and blessed to be able to go out and compete again," the 2017 MVP said while wearing a mask before Wednesday's practice.

"But, just quarantining at home, trying to be productive, obviously not able to get on the basketball floor, but finding ways to kind of stay active and do as much conditioning as I can probably do as far as that." 

Westbrook said he was in good shape before needing to quarantine, and his only symptom was a stuffy nose. 

Although he was able to still do some exercise while self-isolating, the nine-time All-Star urged everyone to take the proper safety precautions to protect themselves against the virus. 

"I'm not a doctor nor a specialist, but I do know that it's definitely something to take very seriously," he said. "To understand that wearing a mask can be [the difference] between life or death honestly ... there are people dying from this virus each and every day and it's something that we all need to take very, very seriously." 

In his first season with Houston after arriving from the Oklahoma City Thunder, the 31-year-old Westbrook was averaging 27.5 points, 8.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists prior the league being halted. 

The Rockets will resume their season against the Dallas Mavericks on July 31 and play their first exhibition game against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. 

It is possible Westbrook could play in the first scrimmage if he and the team's medical staff determine he is healthy enough. 

Shaking off the rust, however, is Westbrook's top priority at the moment. 

"I have to see if I can make a layup at this point," he joked. "I got to start there and work my way from there."

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    Crotone, promoted from Serie B, will be Milan's opponents. They are coached by a former Milan player in Giovanni Stroppa.

    The newcomers were thumped 4-1 by Genoa on their return to the top flight last weekend, but will hope to fare better this time out at their Stadio Ezio Scida home.

    Pioli saw his Milan side - without Ibrahimovic - given a stiff test by Bodo/Glimt in Europa League qualifying on Thursday, eventually securing a 3-2 win on the back of Hakan Calhanoglu's double.

    Ante Rebic could take up a central striking role this weekend rather than occupying a station on the left, with Pioli predicting he could do "a good job" in the position usually occupied by Ibrahimovic.

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