The Rockets expect forward Danuel House to remain out in Game 4 against the Lakers on Thursday as the NBA continues its investigation into a potential bubble protocol violation.
House is currently being investigated for an alleged "improper visit to [the] Rockets’ team hotel," by a female staffer, per The Athletic's Shams Charania. Houston reportedly had to quarantine in its hotel for a brief period on Tuesday, and House was listed as out for personal reasons in Game 3.
"As far as I know, he's out," Rockets head coach Mike D'Antoni said regarding House's status. House will not be officially ruled inactive until 5 p.m. CT, one hour before tip-off.
House's status for the rest of the series is unclear, per D'Antoni.
"The investigation is going on," D'Antoni said. "So when they come out with their ruling, we'll go from there."
The Texas A&M product has emerged as a key piece with the Rockets in 2019-20, and his role was amplified against LeBron James and the Lakers. House served as a key member of Houston's defensive wall against Los Angeles' supersized frontcourt, helping hold James to zero fourth quarter points in Game 1. James shredded the Rockets en route to 36 points in Game 3, and a similar performance could very well be in store on Thursday night.
Houston's uphill climb against the Lakers grows steeper by the game without House, but D'Antoni and Co. aren't panicking anytime soon. The Rockets won Game 4 and Game 5 after trailing the Warriors in 2018, and they erased a 2–0 hole against Golden State in 2019. Another upset could be in store on Thursday.
"Our guys are ready, they understand the importance of this game," D'Antoni said. "We've been down plenty of times with this nucleus."