With the sporting world scrambling to find ways to keep players and fans safe during the outbreak, which WHO recently declared a pandemic, the NBA announced its decision Wednesday evening. The league said it would be taking a hiatus from play to “determine next steps” after Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert tested positive for the illness.
NBA To Suspend Season Following Tonight's Games pic.twitter.com/2PTx2fkLlW
— NBA (@NBA) March 12, 2020
The test result was reported shortly before the tipoff between Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, and the game was canceled immediately.
According to the NBA, the affected player was not in the arena at the time of cancellation. While the league hasn’t sent any official word on the player’s identity yet, USA Today reports Gobert was the player who tested positive for the virus.
Jazz officials released a statement preceding the NBA’s in which they said the affected player was tested for strep throat and an upper respiratory infection Wednesday morning.
Rudy & Emmanuel have both been ruled out (illness) for tonight's game.
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) March 11, 2020
The organization tested the reigning Defensive Player of the Year for COVID-19 as a precaution after consulting with the NBA league office, its medical staff and Oklahoma health officials. The team announced that "a preliminary positive result came back right before tip-off."
Teams the Jazz have played against in the last couple of weeks have been asked to self-quarantine. The NBA also postponed a game between the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans due to the developments.
Out of an abundance of caution and at the direction of the NBA tonight's game has been postponed. Please exercise caution when departing the arena and check https://t.co/nPDnpRgW7F for more information in the coming days. Thank you.
— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) March 12, 2020
On Monday, Gobert jested at the NBA's new media policies that require reporters and photographers to stay between six to eight feet away from coaches and players. In response, Gobert decided to touch all the microphones and recorders on the interview table in the media session following his morning shoot around.
— Dave Fox (@Davefox2) March 12, 2020
No decision has yet been made on the status of the upcoming NBA Playoffs. The March Madness NCAA Basketball tournament announced Wednesday it will proceed with play without a fan presence, CBS Sports reported.