Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press
Houston Rockets forward Danuel House Jr. will miss Game 4 of his team’s Western Conference second-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday amid an ongoing NBA probe that he violated the league’s health and safety protocols at their Disney World campus, where the remainder of the 2019-20 season is being played during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni revealed House’s Game 4 absence to reporters on Wednesday, per Kelly Iko of The Athletic.
House has been accused of allowing a female COVID-19 testing official into his hotel room at Disney World’s Grand Floridian resort within the league’s de-facto bubble on the campus, per Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic.
Charania reported the following regarding the alleged incident:
“A woman entered the Rockets’ team hotel on Monday night, passing multiple security checkpoints before being flagged for her entry, sources said. She exited the hotel in the early hours of Tuesday morning, and the league cited early data points that implicated two members of the Rockets, House and Tyson Chandler, sources said.
“When the woman was questioned by NBA security, she did not implicate House’s name and it is uncertain whether she remains on campus, sources said. She claimed to have contact with Chandler and another player, not named House, according to sources.“
Per Charania, “House has vehemently denied to the league that he engaged in any improper contact with the staffer.” He missed Game 3 due to “personal reasons.”
The investigation is being held “due to an abundance of caution toward the medical health and safety protocols inside the league’s bubble,” as Charania noted.
The Rockets are currently down 2-1 in their best-of-seven series. House, 27, has averaged 10.5 points on 42.7 percent shooting this season.
As of now, there is no public evidence that directly connects House and the female COVID-19 official. Charania reported this news on that front: “Those sources said there appears to be no video connecting House and the woman; only the flagging of her entering and leaving the hotel, and the possibility of a door opening and closing to match those timelines. The NBA has informed involved parties that it has circumstantial evidence implicating House.”
Rockets big man Tyson Chandler has cleared, but the league’s investigation into House continues.
“This is done out of precaution and making sure the NBA’s campus standards are upheld,” a source told Charania.
House has continued to deny any interactions with the official, and the Rockets back him, per Charania. For now, House has been in NBA-mandated quarantine.
House came off the bench for the Rockets’ first two games against the Lakers. After going scoreless in Game 1, House dropped 13 points on 5-of-10 shooting in Game 2.
The Rockets largely turned toward seven players, including House, to provide the bulk of the minutes in Games 1 and 2.
Sans House, Houston shortened its rotation to six in Game 3, with Jeff Green providing most of the minutes off the bench. The Rockets turned to Austin Rivers and Ben McLemore as substitutes for 10 minutes apiece as well.