Update, 5:54 p.m. ET: Kevin Durant is one of the players who has contracted the new coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. In a statement to media, he encouraged fans to "take care" of themselves and quarantine. Full details on Durant's diagnosis can be found here, and the original story about the Nets' test results follows below.
The NBA suspended operations on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. All games were postponed due to health and safety concerns. Four more players have now tested positive for the coronavirus, all of whom play for the Brooklyn Nets.
The team released a statement on Wednesday, confirming the news. One of the players is "exhibiting symptoms" while the other three are reportedly "asymptomatic." The players have been isolated and are currently receiving care from the team physicians. The identities of the players were not initially revealed by the Nets in their statement.
"The organization is currently notifying anyone who has had known contact with the players, including recent opponents, and is working closely with state and local health officials on reporting," the Nets said in a statement. "All players and members of the Nets travel party are being asked to remain isolated, closely monitor their health, and maintain constant communication with the team medical staff. The health of our players and staff is of the highest priority to the organization and the team is doing everything within its power to ensure that those affected receive the best care possible."
The Nets have not been in action since the NBA suspended operations due to health and safety concerns. Their previous game – against the Los Angeles Lakers – took place on March 10. Gobert was the first player to test positive for the coronavirus, but he was soon joined by teammate Donovan Mitchell. Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons became the third player to test positive.
The four players on the Nets now increase the total number to four players, and there are concerns that more could soon test positive. The Los Angeles Lakers, in particular, will be under scrutiny due to their recent matchup with the Nets. Although the fans are more focused on what happens with the NBA season.
"Makes absolutely no sense to bring it back. When a currently untreatable virus worsens, there's no way to combat it except for isolation. Bringing back 20,000+ fans into stadiums will only worsen that measure. Adam Silver just needs to call the season off," one concerned fan wrote on Twitter. Several others agreed with that assessment and proclaimed that the season should just end.
The current plan is for the NBA to return to action after at least 30 days, provided they receive clearance from health officials. The timeline could extend based upon the coronavirus and the state of the country, but that decision will not be made just yet.
(Photo Credit: Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)