Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) shoots as New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis (1) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New York, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. Photo: AP Photo/Sarah Stier
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) shoots as New York Knicks forward Bobby Portis (1) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game in New York, Wednesday, March 4, 2020. Photo: AP Photo/Sarah Stier

NBA suspends season after player tests positive for Coronavirus

By Cliff Brunt Time of article published Mar 12, 2020

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Utah's scheduled game at Oklahoma City was postponed Wednesday night and the NBA suspended its season a few minutes later after a Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus.

The player is star centre Rudy Gobert, according to a person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the league nor the team had confirmed it publicly.

The positive test result was reported shortly before the scheduled tip-off between the Jazz and Thunder. The league said the affected player was not in the arena.

The Jazz released a statement saying a player - they did not identify Gobert - tested negative Wednesday morning for flu, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection. That player's symptoms diminished as the day went along, but the decision was made to test for COVID-19 anyway. That test came back with a preliminary positive result.

“The individual is currently in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City,” the Jazz said, adding that updates would come as appropriate.

Basketball fans leave Chesapeake Energy Arena after it is announced that an NBA basketball game between Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz in Oklahoma City has been postponed, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Photo: AP Photo/Kyle Phillips

Things appeared to be going normally at first. The starting lineups were announced, and the teams were preparing to step onto the floor. Then, after conversation among the officials, the teams went back to the locker rooms and the officials left the floor.

The Thunder mascot and their hype crew, the Storm Chasers, tried to keep a full house of fans entertained during the delay. The halftime entertainment was moved up. Finally, the announcement that the game was called off came about 35 minutes after the scheduled start time.

The public address announcer told the fans only that the game was postponed due to “unforeseen circumstances.”

There was no post-game media availability.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan said before the game that he was confident in NBA Commissioner Adam Silver's leadership.

Basketball fans sit in an empty section after it is announced that an NBA basketball game between Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz in Oklahoma City has been postponed, Wednesday, March 11, 2020. Photo: AP Photo/Kyle Phillips

“I think the thing that everybody is looking at right now is the safety and the health, not only of the players, but of fans and everybody,” he said. “Obviously, this has gotten into a situation where it certainly has a lot of people really, really nervous.

Everybody should try to take the proper precautions.”

Associated Press (AP)


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