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Rockets Rumors: Russell Westbrook's Preseason Debut Date Revealed

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistSeptember 30, 2019

HOUSTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 27: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Houston Rockets poses for a portrait during media day on September 27, 2019 at The Post Oak Hotel in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Troy Fields/NBAE via Getty Images)
Troy Fields/Getty Images

Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook will reportedly sit out the team's first two preseason games before making his debut during the Rockets' trip to Japan.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported Westbrook will suit up for games against the Toronto Raptors on Oct. 8 and Oct. 10.

Westbrook had surgery on his left hand and right knee in May. Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni told reporters that Westbrook is cleared for all basketball activities but will be brought along at a slower pace to ensure he's ready for the regular season.

"I feel like I'm in a good place," Westbrook told reporters at media day. "I'll be ready to go on opening night."

The Rockets open their preseason Monday against the Shanghai Sharks before taking a trip to Hawaii to play against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. It's unclear if Westbrook will travel with the team to Hawaii.

Westbrook came over to the Rockets in an offseason trade that sent Chris Paul to Oklahoma City. The blockbuster signaled a culture shift for Houston, which seemingly needed to break up the Paul-James Harden partnership, and the end of an era for Westbrook with the Thunder. Westbrook and Harden both began their careers in OKC, reaching the 2012 NBA Finals as Harden won the Sixth Man of the Year Award. The Thunder then traded Harden to the Rockets before the following season.

Harden reached superstardom in Houston, while Westbrook continued to blossom in Oklahoma City—each winning an MVP Award but failing to get back to the Finals.

"We've accomplished a lot of individual accolades," Harden told reporters. "Now it's time to accomplish something together that we haven't accomplished before."

Westbrook has been largely healthy over the last four years, missing no more than nine games each season.

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