The National Basketball Association has suspended its season “until further notice” following reports that Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for Coronavirus on Wednesday (March 11), moments before the team was set to play against the Oklahoma City Thunder. On Thursday (March 12), it was also reported that fellow Jazz player Donovan Mitchell has also been diagnosed with the virus.
“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the league said in a statement, as reported by The New York Times.
Gobert had reportedly been testing for coronavirus as a precautionary measure after his tests for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection had come back negative.
“The individual’s symptoms diminished over the course of today, however in a precautionary measure, and in consultation and cooperation with NBA medical staff and Oklahoma health officials, the decision was made to test for Covid-19,” the Utah Jazz said in a statement.
On Monday (March 9) Gobert had reportedly been making fun of the pandemic by touching reporters’ microphones and recorders. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA player had also been “careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings.” This information arrives in the wake of Gobert’s fellow teammate Mitchell’s diagnosis.
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus, league sources tell ESPN. Jazz players privately say that Rudy Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings. Now a Jazz teammate has tested positive.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020
The Jazz confirmed Mitchell’s positive Coronavirus test in a statement released on Thursday (March 12).
“As a follow-up to yesterday’s positive COVID-19 test, Oklahoma health officials tested all members of the Utah Jazz traveling party, confirming one additional positive outcome for a Jazz player,” they said, per CBS Sports. “We are working closely with the CDC, Oklahoma and Utah state officials and the NBA to monitor their health and determine the best path moving forward.”
Prior to Wednesday night's announcement (March 11), the NBA had been in talks of hosting games without fans. On Wednesday morning, San Francisco had proposed banning gatherings of more than 1,000 people at games for at least two weeks, with the Warriors announcing plans to play home games without any fans in the stadiums through March 21.
Players for the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons, Toronto Raptors and Oklahoma City Thunder have subsequently been instructed to self-quarantine.