Reports: Rockets' Austin Rivers, Clippers' Lou Williams leave NBA bubble week before opener

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Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers has left the NBA’s bubble at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported on Friday. Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams has also left the bubble on an excused absence, per Andrew Greif of the Los Angeles Times.

Rivers leaves bubble for family matter

Rivers left for an “urgent family matter,” per Charania. The team is optimistic Rivers will return to the bubble within a few days, ESPN reported.

He will have to quarantine in a hotel room for four full days upon arrival back in the bubble before he can rejoin his team. The four-day period is in play as long as Rivers tests negative for COVID-19 during his time outside of the bubble, per NBA protocol. It could be longer.

Rockets’ Westbrook, Harden late bubble arrivals

Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers has left the NBA bubble and will need to quarantine upon re-arrival. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)
Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers has left the NBA bubble and will need to quarantine upon re-arrival. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

The Rockets were already without Russell Westbrook, who tested positive for COVID-19, when they entered the bubble. He joined the team late on Monday and went through proper quarantine protocols before joining practices. James Harden also entered the bubble late, citing a family matter.

The NBA does not restart its season until Thursday. The Rockets’ first game is the following day, leaving Rivers enough time to get back for the season re-opener if things go smoothly.

Williams joins Clippers teammates in leaving bubble

Reserve guard Lou Williams has also left the bubble, per the Los Angeles Times. He is out on an excused personal reason and expected to be back soon, per the report.

The Clippers, coached by Doc Rivers, Austin’s father, already had two players leave the bubble. Guard Patrick Beverley left the bubble for an “emergency personal matter” days after center Montrezl Harrell left for a family emergency.

They play the Los Angeles Lakers on opening night.

New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson was the first and most notable player to leave the bubble. He also cited a family matter in leaving on July 16. The Pelicans updated his status on Wednesday, saying there is no update on Williamson’s return.

They expect him to return and said in a statement “he fully intends to rejoin the team.”

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