James Harden Likely To Be Available On Saturday

Following James Harden‘s violation of the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the NBA will require the Rockets star to conduct a four-day quarantine that began on Tuesday, as Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports (via Twitter).

Harden must self-isolate through Friday and continue to test negative for the coronavirus in order to receive clearance to resume participating in practices, games, or other team activities, as Mark Berman of Fox 26 Houston tweets. He won’t be able to travel with the team but would be eligible to return for Saturday’s game against the Trail Blazers as long as he doesn’t break quarantine or test positive for the virus.

An NBA investigation found that Harden violated the league’s COVID-19 protocols when he attended an indoor party of 15 or more people. Typically, a player who misses a game for violating those protocols would lose 1/72nd of his salary — in Harden’s case, that would be nearly $573K per game.

However, the Rockets/Thunder game on Wednesday was postponed because Houston also had eight other players unavailable for COVID-19 or injury reasons unrelated to Harden. As a result, it appears the 31-year-old may not actually miss any games as a result of his violation and won’t face any league discipline beyond a $50K fine. A player who is fined an amount greater than $50K is allowed to file a grievance.

It remains to be seen how long several other Rockets players will have to remain isolated or how many negative tests they’ll require, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle. Positive or inconclusive tests for KJ Martin and another unknown player reportedly triggered contact tracing protocols for John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Jae’Sean Tate, and Mason Jones.

The Rockets still have seven other healthy, available players on their roster, so as long as Harden is cleared following his four-day quarantine, the team will have at least the league-mandated minimum of eight players available for Saturday’s game vs. Portland.

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