John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon Among 6 out for Rockets vs. Blazers

Blake SchusterSenior Analyst IDecember 25, 2020

Houston Rockets forward P.J. Tucker, left, deflects a pass by San Antonio Spurs forward Rudy Gay, middle, in front of guard John Wall, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Dec. 15, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Michael Wyke/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets have ruled out John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon, Ben McLemore, Kenyon Martin Jr. and Mason Jones for Saturday's game against the Portland Trail Blazers

James Harden was not among the unavailable players, per ESPN's Tim MacMahon.

Houston's scheduled season opener against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday was postponed after the Rockets were unable to field an eligible lineup after contract tracing revealed an outbreak of COVID-19 within the franchise. 

Harden was fined $50,000 for breaking the NBA's COVID-19 protocols and entered a four-day self-isolation period on Tuesday. He's expected to play against the Blazers after testing negative before the game, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski

Both the Thunder and Rockets will attempt to begin their respective seasons Saturday with Oklahoma City visiting Charlotte

The loss of Wall and Cousins won't be easy to overcome even if Harden is able to start. The duo who stared together at Kentucky became one of the stories of the preseason after a trade for Russell Westbrook reunited them in Houston. Now they'll have to wait a bit longer before making their regular-season debut as NBA teammates. 

In the meantime, the Rockets will likely look to rely on Sterling Brown and Jae'Sean Tate in the backcourt Saturday while P.J. Tucker, Christian Wood and Bruno Caboclo remain available up front. 

The league requires teams to maintain at least eight eligible players in order to avoid a postponement. 


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