NBA postpones first game due to coronavirus infections
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The NBA postponed its first game of the season following COVID-19 concerns surrounding members of the Houston Rockets.

The Rockets were slated to open the season against the Oklahoma City Thunder before the game was postponed by the NBA, citing three players from Houston sidelined due to inconclusive tests and four others quarantined by the league's contact tracing program, The Washington Post reported.

"Tonight’s scheduled Houston Rockets season opener at Toyota Center vs. the Thunder has been postponed in accordance with the NBA’s Health & Safety Protocols," the Rockets team account wrote on Twitter on Wednesday night.


According to the league's constraints, teams are required to dress eight healthy players. The Rockets were unable to meet those guidelines after several players were benched Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the NBA conducted a separate investigation into 2018 MVP James Harden after video footage posted online showed him allegedly attending a party at a Houston club without a mask. The league issued a statement saying Harden violated the NBA's health and safety protocols and would be unavailable to play during the opening game.

The former Thunder player and point guard for Houston already breached protocol once when he did not arrive at preseason on time. He reportedly traveled to Atlanta and Las Vegas without a mask and was forced to test negative for six consecutive days before he could participate with the rest of the team.

According to the NBA's 2020-21 health and safety protocols, players cannot attend indoor gatherings at venues such as bars and nightclubs, with further rules that disallow most socializing activities during road trips.

Penalties for violating the protocols can include fines, suspensions, forfeited games and lost draft picks.

Without the security of the Disney World bubble used earlier during the pandemic to complete the 2019-20 season, the league could face more impasses as the new season begins.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Monday that "there will be bumps in the road along the way" as the league adjusts to regular-season travel schedules amid the pandemic.