Sources: Harden available vs. Blazers if negative

11:15 AM ET

In the aftermath of his violating coronavirus protocols and absorbing a $50,000 fine, the NBA is mandating that Houston Rockets All-Star James Harden quarantine and test negative for four days, which should clear the way for his return Saturday against the Portland Trail Blazers, sources told ESPN.

The league’s medical staff started the clock on a Harden quarantine with Tuesday’s negative test and he should receive clearance on Friday, sources said.

“The precedent is that discipline gets ratcheted up,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on The Jump on Thursday. “It’s Christmas. It was a first offense. … In a way, he got lucky. If the game had been played, Harden would have been docked one game’s pay.”

For a game missed due a COVID-19 violation, players will lose 1/72nd of their salary, according to league rules. If the game had been played, Harden would have lost $572,985.

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Harden was disciplined after video surfaced of him at an indoor gathering in Houston without a mask. He wouldn’t have been allowed to play in the Rockets’ scheduled game against Oklahoma City on Wednesday, which was eventually postponed because Houston couldn’t meet league

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