12:51pm: KJ Martin is now listed on the Rockets’ injury report as self-isolating and not with the team, tweets MacMahon. The contact tracing is related to Martin’s test results, Wojnarowski confirms (via Twitter).
As Woj explains (via Twitter), a group of Rockets players, including Martin, Wall, and Cousins, were away from the team facility at an apartment getting haircuts. Since Martin tested positive, contact tracing is required for others who were there – including Wall and Cousins – as the team waits for confirmation on Martin’s test result.
12:25pm: Wall tested negative for the coronavirus but is among a group of Rockets sent home because a teammate tested positive, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). Woj adds that Ben McLemore tested positive for COVID-19 a few days ago but has been in isolation and isn’t the player whose positive test initiated today’s contact tracing.
Meanwhile, Sam Amick of The Athletic clarifies (via Twitter) that the contact tracing isn’t tied to Harden, while Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets that the Thunder haven’t received any communication from the NBA about the status of tonight’s game.
11:47am: Several Rockets players are expected to miss the season opener tonight because of COVID-19 contact tracing, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Charania mentions John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins and says other players could also be affected.
Although Charania doesn’t specify, the action could be related to an investigation into James Harden‘s apparent visit to a strip club. NBA officials are examining a video on social media to determine if it was recent, making it a violation of the league’s health and safety protocols.
Harden published – and later deleted – an Instagram story claiming that the video in question wasn’t from a strip club, but it would still be a violation of the NBA’s protocols, which prohibit players from visiting bars, lounges, and clubs, notes Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter links).
Information on who else will miss tonight’s game against the Thunder should become available later today, but the news delays a return for two players who have been sidelined with major injuries. Wall hasn’t played in two years because of a ruptured Achilles tendon, while Cousins sat out all of last season with a torn ACL in his left knee.