The NBA has officially made the decision to halt the remainder of the regular season due to coronavirus concerns. The announcement was made on Wednesday night and coincided with a player testing positive for coronavirus. Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was listed as questionable with "an illness" prior to Wednesday's game.
"The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to tip-off of tonight's game between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena," the league said in a statement.
"At that time, tonight's game was canceled. 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. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus epidemic."
The players took part in normal warmups on Wednesday night with the initial expectation that they would be taking part in a game. However, they walked off the court prior to tip-off, which started a delay lasting more than 30 minutes. The game was eventually canceled by NBA officials.
According to ESPN's Royce Young, the Thunder's head team doctor "came sprinting out" to the court moments before tip-off. This caught many by surprise and was believed to be the cause of the delay.
Along with Gobert, Jazz guard Emmanuel Mudiay was also listed on the pregame injury report with an illness. Gobert met with the media to discuss the situation and drew attention by purposely touching every microphone and recorder during his media availability.
"Both teams and locker rooms are currently quarantined. Nobody has left Chesapeake Arena," Tony Jones of The Athletic wrote on Twitter following the cancellation.
The sports world has been dealing with a variety of postponements and cancellations in response to the coronavirus. The NCAA announced that the upcoming men's and women's basketball tournaments would only have limited attendance. Fans would not be able to show up and cheer for their favorite teams. Additionally, the Golden State Warriors announced that they would be playing games in empty arenas prior to the season being canceled.0comments
With the NBA's decision, there are now questions about whether the NFL, MLB, and NHL will follow suit. The NHL is expected to make an announcement about the season in the coming hours. The NFL, on the other hand, is preparing for the offseason but has altered travel plans for scouts and general managers attending pro days around the country.
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