Three days after their season opener was postponed because the Rockets didn’t have enough players, Houston expects to have nine players — one more than the league minimum — Saturday in Portland, enabling the team to start its NBA season.
The Rockets reported Friday afternoon that six players will be unavailable Saturday: Ben McLemore and Kenyon Martin Jr. are “not with team, self-isolating” following positive COVID-19 tests while John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon and Mason Jones are sidelined due to contact tracing.
Notably, Rockets star James Harden was not listed on the daily injury report after reportedly testing negative a fourth time in as many days Friday. He is expected to start Saturday night against the Trail Blazers.
The NBA handed Harden a $50,000 fine on Wednesday for violating the league’s health and safety protocols after he attended a private indoor party two days earlier. He was listed as unavailable for the Thunder game before that contest was postponed.
With their remaining roster, the Rockets are scheduled for a 10 p.m. ET tipoff to the season Saturday, against a Portland team eager to rebound from an embarrassing 20-point, season-opening loss to the visiting Utah Jazz on Wednesday.