The NBA has suspended the 2019-20 season until further notice after Wednesday's games conclude
The announcement came Wednesday night after it was reported Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert received a preliminary positive test for the COVID-19 coronavirus — the same day the World Health Organization officially declared COVID-19 a pandemic.
The statement came about 90 minutes after the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder were pulled off the floor in Oklahoma City just before tipoff Wednesday night. That game was eventually "suspended" and fans were told to leave the arena.
"The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19," the NBA said in a statement. "The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight's schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine the next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic."
Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported Gobert had tested positive, just prior to the NBA's announcement. The Associated Press has also reported Gobert's positive test.
Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, the only explanation in the arena was 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 Utah Jazz released the following statement at 8:21 p.m. Wednesday:
This morning a player on the Utah Jazz tested negative for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection. 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.
A preliminary positive result came back right before tip-off of the Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City game. Subsequently, the decision was correctly made by the NBA to postpone the game. When it was determined that the individual would be tested, we immediately informed the league office. The health and safety of our players, our organization, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation are paramount in our discussions.
We are working closely with the CDC, Oklahoma and Utah state officials and the NBA to determine how to best move forward as we gather more information. The individual is currently in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City. In coordination with the NBA and state officials, we will provide updates at the appropriate time.