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NBA suspends league play after Utah Jazz player tests positive for COVID-19, no resumption date set


NKyTribune staff

The NBA suspended game play following the conclusion of Wednesday’s schedule of games, until further notice.

The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA announced Wednesday that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19.  The test result was reported shortly before the tip-off of Wednesday’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

At that time, Wednesday’s game was canceled.  The affected player was not in the arena, but is widely reported to be Jazz center Rudy Gobert.

Gobert is shown touching several microphones at a press conference two days prior to the positive test result, in what appeared to be an attempt to make light of the virus.

The league has not identified a date when play might resume.

Initially, only the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game against the Utah Jazz was postponed Wednesday nigh. The only explanation came from a public address announcement citing “unforeseen circumstances.”

The starting lineups were announced, and it appeared the game was ready to start. Then, after conversation among the officials, the teams went back to the locker rooms and the officials left the floor.

The Thunder mascot and its 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 announcement that league play would be suspended came a short time later.

The situation escalated quickly after the Golden State Warriors announced earlier in the day that the team’s game against the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night would be played without fans in the arena, in an effort to slow the coronavirus outbreak.

Shortly after San Francisco Mayor London Breed banned all gatherings of 1,000 or more people for the next two weeks, the Warriors announced they would go ahead with the game, but without fans at Chase Center.

“We are closely monitoring developments to determine the appropriate course for future Warriors home games,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement, “and will continue to work with local governments, the CDC and public health experts to protect the health of our fans, players, coaches and staff in NBA markets across the country.”

Four other events scheduled through March 21 at the building, which seats more than 18,000 people, have been postponed or canceled, including a Post Malone concert.

The NBA G League, also announced the suspension of the 2019-20 season, effective after Wednesday’s games.

The NBA provided the information for this story


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