Russell Westbrook is back in the NBA Bubble after a positive COVID-19 test forced the Houston Rockets star to depart from Walt Disney World back on July 13. Westbrook returned to the practice court on Wednesday after clearing the league’s quarantine protocol.
Westbrook spoke with media ahead of Wednesday’s practice session in which he was asked whether or not he will play in Houston’s scrimmage against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. The former league MVP stated, “Honestly, I have to see if I can make a layup – let’s start there.”
From the looks of things, that won’t be a problem. The Rockets shared a clip of Russ taking flight in his inaugural return to the hardwood, flashing a joyful grin as he hung from the rim following a one-handed slam.
While Westbrook’s availability for Friday’s scrimmage appears to still be up in the air at the moment, head coach Mike D’Antoni doesn’t appear all too concerned, as he’ll leave that decision up to Westbrook and the medical staff.
“Whatever he wants is cool,” said D’Antoni. “He knows his body. Again, we’re not talking about just a normal athlete. We’re talking about a super athlete, and I sometimes underestimate it. I know today I might have a hard time getting through practice, but he might not have any problem. We rely on him and the medical staff to make an informed decision, and whatever that decision is, we’ll go with it.”
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Westbrook ‘Thankful’ & ‘Blessed’ to Be Back
While it was announced just last week that Westbrook had contracted the coronavirus, the 9x-NBA All-Star informed ESPN’s Rachel Nichols that he had actually tested positive just after the July 4 weekend. Westbrook noted that had it not been for NBA testing he wouldn’t have known.
Westbrook, the league’s seventh-leading scorer for the 2019-20 season, says he was mostly asymptomatic, claiming that “The only thing I had was a stuffy nose, but that was it.”
Still, he’s made it his prerogative to use his platform to help further prevent the spread of the virus.
“Wearing a mask… can be the difference between life and death, honestly,” said Westbrook. “People are dying from this virus each and every day, and it’s something we need to take very seriously.”
Harping back on D’Antonio anointing Westbrook a “super athlete,” the 31-year-old claims that he’s “in pretty good shape” at the moment, despite the inability to get on the basketball court.
“I’ve been at home, trying to be productive. Obviously, not able to get on the basketball floor, but finding ways to stay active, doing as much conditioning as I can probably do.” Westbrook continued, “We’ll see [the conditioning level] when I get out there, but that’s the last thing that I worry about. I’m in pretty good shape, so I should be all right.”
Most importantly, Westbrook wants the world to know that he’s simply “thankful and blessed to be able to go back on the floor and compete.” And that when he’s back to 100%, “you’ll know.”