Russell Westbrook didn’t travel to Orlando last week with the team, and now we know why.
The Rockets guard announced Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19 before the team’s departure.
Westbrook is currently quarantined and expected to join the Rockets when he is cleared.
The Rockets’ first scrimmage is still 11 days away, so Westbrook isn’t stressed for time. Houston will play three scrimmages on July 24, 26 and 28 before its first game against the Mavericks on July 31.
It’s a minor setback, but if anyone is going to try and get back as soon as possible, it’s Westbrook. He plays the game with an energy level that few can match, so you can bet that he’ll be on the first flight to Orlando once he is cleared.
Westbrook is averaging 27.5 points, eight rebounds and seven assists this season. It’s the sixth straight season he has averaged at least 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
The Washington NFL team’s name change created a bigger conversation about teams in sports with Native American-related mascots, and one organization has already declared that a name change isn’t coming.
The Atlanta Braves told season-ticket holders Sunday that the team’s name will not change, but the organization is looking into the future of the Tomahawk Chop.
Braves fans started the tomahawk chop in 1991, and it has been a major part of the experience at the home games.
Last postseason, St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Ryan Hesley, a member of the Cherokee Nation, told reporters during a playoff series against the Braves that the chop was a misrepresentation of his people.
“Just depicts them in this kind of caveman-type people way who aren’t intellectual,” Hesley said last October. “They are a lot more than that. It’s not me being offended by the whole mascot thing. It’s not. It’s about the misconception of us, the Native Americans, and it devalues us and how we’re perceived in that way, or used as mascots.”
Following Hesley’s comments, the Braves announced that they would reduce the use of the tomahawk chop going forward.
The Kansas City Chiefs and Florida State Seminoles also use the tomahawk chop at their games. If the Braves make a change, one will likely follow from those two teams.
Like Washington’s mascot, the days of the tomahawk chop seem to be numbered.
Neshaminy High also uses the same mascot as Washington. Chris Stanley, Community Relations Coordinator of the Neshaminy School District, issued the following statement Monday about the possibility of a mascot change: “As this matter is still the subject of ongoing litigation, the District won’t have any comment at this time.”
The Lakers will already be without Avery Bradley, but the team lost another important guard on Sunday. Rajon Rondo injured his thumb and is expected to miss six-to-eight weeks.
Rondo is the type of player whose stats don’t always show his impact. He’s averaging 7.1 points and five assists in a career-low 20 minutes per game, but he’s widely regarded as one of the smartest players in the league. His ability to dissect a defense will be missed, and it shortens the Lakers’ point guard options.
LeBron James will handle most of the playmaking role, and he’s going to play a lot of minutes. Without Rondo, Quinn Cook and Alex Caruso are the next available options at point guard behind James, but neither player is known for their playmaking.
Rondo and James combined to average 15.6 of the Lakers’ 25.9 assists per game. Outside of Anthony Davis (3.1 assists per game), no other Laker is averaging more than 1.8 assists.
It’s hard to depend on one player as the main playmaker — especially in the playoffs — but Rondo’s loss took away the Lakers’ second-best option. James will have to shoulder even more of the load now and hope other teammates can rise to the occasion with more playing time.
A return in six-to-eight weeks would mean Rondo is back sometime between the end of August and early September. The first round of the playoffs begin Aug. 17 and the conference semifinals start Aug. 31. If his rehab goes as planned, the Lakers could work Rondo into the rotation in the conference semifinals.If they advance, he should be fully healthy for the conference finals, which is set to begin Sept. 15.
In the category of least surprising news of the day, Patrick Mahomes will be the highest-rated player on Madden. The quarterback was announced as a member of the ’99 club Monday morning.
Mahomes has $500 million worth of reasons why he deserved the honor, but you won’t find too many people who will argue against it. In two seasons as a starter, he has an MVP, Super Bowl and a Madden cover to his name. He’s the quickest player to ever earn a 99 rating in Madden history.
Four players earned 99 ratings this season. Mahomes was joined by Christian McCaffrey, Aaron Donald and Stephon Gilmore. Wide receiver’s Michael Thomas and DeAndre Hopkins just missed the list with 98 ratings.
Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees are the only other active quarterbacks to ever receive 99 ratings on Madden. Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz ranked 10th with an 84 overall rating.