The NBA has suspended its season after the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game against the Utah Jazz was postponed after a player tested positive for coronavirus.
The league confirmed in a statement that ‘the test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off’ and ‘the affected player was not in the arena’.
‘The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,’ a statement read. ‘The NBA will use this hiatus to determine the next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.’
Jazz center Rudy Gobert recently got sick after touching the microphones and recorders of reporters, it was recently reported.
In Oklahoma, the starting lineups were announced, and it appeared the game was ready to start after the Thunder mascot and their hype crew, the Storm Chasers, tried to keep a full house of fans entertained during the 35-minute delay.
Then, after conversation among the officials, the warmed up teams went back to the locker rooms, the game was called off and the officials left the floor.
The only explanation was a public address announcement citing ‘unforeseen circumstances.’
‘Sources say Gobert is feeling good, strong and stable — and was feeling strong enough to play tonight,’ Shams Charania, Senior lead NBA Insider tweeted Wednesday night.
Wednesday night there were 1,284 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 37 deaths.
Media reporters had been banned from locker rooms and were told they must interview team members off-grounds.
Wednesday night, NBA owners met via teleconference and had more talks scheduled Thursday with the intention of finalizing plans so an announcement could be made by the league.
The owners discussed an option to temporarily suspend play of all games, but the idea of playing without fans – and stressing that it would be for the short term – is what received the most support, according to the person who spoke to The Associated Press.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because no details had been made public.
Thursday’s Brooklyn at Golden State game was previously scheduled to be played without fans, but because of local edict banning the congregation of more than 1,000 people for events in San Francisco and not because of any league-wide mandate.
San Francisco had banned all large gatherings for the next two weeks and the Golden State Warriors intended to play at least one home game without fans.
Mayor London Breed announced the ban Wednesday. She said she understood the order ‘is disruptive, but it is an important step to support public health.’
She said the Warriors were in support of the efforts. The Warriors’ next home game after that was March 25 against Atlanta.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced on Wednesday that an order prohibiting mass gatherings is forthcoming which would’ve likely impacted the state’s professional teams, including the NBA Cavaliers.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus. According to the World Health Organization, which declared a pandemic on Wednesday, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, more than 80,000 people have been diagnosed and more than 58,000 have so far recovered.
Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego previously said ‘these are scary times.’
‘We love our fans and it´s just going to feel different,’ Borrego said. ‘We´ll just have to navigate and figure it out as we go.’