Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook is set to practice with the team for the first time since revealing that he tested positive for the coronavirus.
Westbrook did not travel with the Rockets on July 9 when they flew to Florida for the NBA’s restart. The nine-time All-Star revealed on social media he had tested positive for the virus on July 14 and he did not arrive in Florida until Monday.
Westbrook had to quarantine upon his arrival at Disney but was cleared to join the Rockets for their practice on Wednesday.
He said his only symptom was a stuffy nose and that he’s feeling great now and ready to get to work with the Rockets, who open the season July 31 against Dallas.
Westbrook, who wore a mask as he spoke to the media despite being inside the NBA bubble, urged people not take the coronavirus lightly and to wear a mask.
“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 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.”
Williamson being tested
The New Orleans Pelicans said Zion Williamson, who left the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World last week, is being tested daily for the coronavirus and continues showing negative results. If that continues, Williamson may have to quarantine for only four days when he returns to the team.
And if that return comes in the next few days, that means he could still have a shot of playing when New Orleans faces Utah on July 30.
“While there is no current timetable for his return to campus, he fully intends to rejoin the team,” the Pelicans said in a statement. “Per NBA protocol, his quarantine period will be determined upon his return.”
Royals OF Dozier positive
Kansas City Royals outfielder Hunter Dozier has tested positive for COVID-19 and been placed on the injured list before the club played its final exhibition game against the Cardinals in St. Louis.
The 28-year-old is coming off a breakthrough season in which he hit 26 homers with 84 RBIs and tying for the American League lead in triples. He is expected to play a big role for the Royals during their abbreviated 60-game season, which begins against the Indians on Friday night in Cleveland.
Dozier said in a statement he had been feeling “a couple of symptoms that go with the virus” and is now following the medical team’s direction by quarantining. He will need to test negative twice before returning to the club.
The Royals still have catcher Cam Gallagher, first baseman Ryan O’Hearn, catching prospect Nick Dini and relief pitcher Daniel Tillo on the injured list with COVID-19. All-Star catcher Salvador Pérez, starters Brad Keller and Jakob Junis, and third baseman Matt Reynolds tested positive but have been cleared to return.
Delay sought on NCAA decision
In a letter dated July 21 and obtained by the Associated Press and first reported on by Yahoo Sports, West Virginia athletic director Shane Lyons, chairman of the NCAA football oversight committee, asked the Board of Governors to avoid making a decision at its meeting Friday on whether to conduct fall championships as it tries to find a path to play through the pandemic. “We acknowledge that the path forward will be challenging, and that the virus may ultimately dictate outcomes,” the letter said. “We are simply requesting that the Board of Governors not make an immediate decision on the outcome of fall championships, so that conferences and schools may have ample latitude to continue to evaluate the viability of playing football this fall.” . . . Toledo football coach Jason Candle tested positive for the coronavirus and will spend the next 10 days self-isolating at home . . . Tulane has cancelled its non-conference game against Washington in the Pac-12 China Game this November in Shanghai because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ex-Chelsea player hospitalized
Former Chelsea player Dan Petrescu has tested positive for the coronavirus and has been taken to the hospital. He will remain hospitalized for at least 48 hours. Petrescu, who played at Chelsea from 1995-2000, currently coaches the Romanian club CFR Cluj. Fourteen staff members and players at the club have tested positive in recent days. Three of those have since tested negative but will remain under observation. Clubs are considering suspending the Romanian league as the country registered 1,030 new cases in the last 24 hours . . . The Atlanta Falcons have told season ticket holders the team plans to have as many as 10,000 to 20,000 fans, all required to wear masks, at home games this season. The reduced capacity meets local requirements as well as the social distancing guidelines set by the NFL and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . . . . Organizers of the Indianapolis 500 will limit fan attendance, implement strict testing, social distancing and mask requirements, and lift the local broadcast blackout for just the second time in nearly seven decades when the postponed race is run next month at Indianapolis Motor Speedway . . . The California State Athletic Commission approved new safety regulations that will allow boxing and mixed martial arts competition to resume without fans. Golden Boy plans to stage a boxing show Friday night in Indio as the first event since the end of the combat sports suspension with Vergil Ortiz Jr. (15-0, 15 KOs) defending his minor welterweight title against Samuel Vargas (31-5-2, 14 KOs) in the main event . . . The International Tennis Federation plans to resume its lower-level World Tennis Tour the week of Aug. 17 and its junior and beach tennis tours two weeks later when the US Open is scheduled to begin . . . The PGA Tour Series-China season has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Greg Carlson, the China-based tour’s executive director, said attempts to move the qualifying tournaments to other sites in Asia were not practical and restricted access into mainland China made it too difficult to stage tournaments in 2020.