The NBA NEWS announced Wednesday that it is temporarily suspending the season after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for coronavirus.
Neither the NBA NEWS nor the Utah Jazz has identified the player who gave the positive, while coincident newspaper reports indicate that it is the French center Rudy Gobert, who, however, would be in good health.
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The player had mocked the coronavirus alarm in a media appearance in days past. In the video, you can see how Rubert takes the precaution not to touch the microphones but then decides to do it showing carefree about the subject.
The NBA NEWS decision to suspend the season came after the abrupt cancellation of the game that the Jazz were going to play against the Thunder in Oklahoma City. When the players were already on the court ready to start, from the public address system it was announced that the clash was suspended due to “unforeseen circumstances”, generating great confusion in the stadium.
Shortly afterward, the NBA NEWS explained that “a Utah Jazz player has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19” and that this result “was announced shortly before the start of the game.”
“The NBA NEWS suspends the season after tonight’s games,” the agency announced in the statement.
The final game of the day, which was to be played by the New Orleans Pelicans and Kings in Sacramento, was also postponed “as a precaution” because one of the referees was a judge in a Jazz game this week, the NBA NEWS said.
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The league pointed out that the affected Jazz player was not on the Thunder’s court this Wednesday. According to the NBA NEWS casualty report, two Utah Jazz players were not going to participate in this match due to “illness”: French center Rudy Gobert and Congolese-born baseman Emmanuel Mudiay.
The Jazz issued a statement in which they do not identify which of their players did the test. According to the Utah team, that player had an infl newsuenza test on Wednesday morning and it came out negative, but despite the fact that the symptoms were decreasing, he decided to take the coronavirus test as a precaution.
“A preliminary result was positive just before the game, so the decision to postpone it was correct by the NBA NEWS,” the Jazz said.
According to newspaper reports, the player who tested positive is Gobert, one of the Jazz stars and a two-time winner of the NBA NEWS’s Best Defensive Player award. According to these reports, the center is in good condition and was even ready to play the game if the test had not come out positive.
“I just got off the phone with Rudy,” his French teammate Evan Fournier of the Orlando Magic wrote on Twitter. “He’s fine. Let’s not panic.”
In the past week, the Jazz has played three home games against the New York Knicks (March 4), Boston Celtics (6) and Detroit Pistons (7) and one at home against the Toronto Raptors (9).
This Wednesday, the NBA NEWS had met with the owners of the 30 franchises to take preventive measures against the new coronavirus pandemic. According to the ESPN network, most teams were inclined in that meeting to continue with the NBA NEWS season but playing games without an audience.
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Hours earlier the Golden State Warriors were the first team to announce that they will play their next home game behind closed doors on Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets.
The announcement came shortly after the San Francisco mayor’s office banned events that brought together more than a thousand people for at least two weeks.
Also under pressure from other local authorities, other US championships, where until now only the cancellation of the prestigious Indian Wells tennis tournament had been recorded, began taking similar measures on Wednesday.
The final US college basketball championship, known as ‘March Madness,’ will have to be played with the stands empty. This event is one of the most popular on the American sports calendar, with over 100 million viewers.
In the MLS, meanwhile, the games on March 21 between Seattle Sounders and Dallas FC and between San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City were suspended.
Seattle’s announcement also came after state governor Jay Inslee banned gatherings of more than 250 people in that city during the month of March.
The Major League Baseball Seattle Mariners also said they were working with “alternative plans for our games scheduled for late March,” which could include playing at other venues.
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For its part, the ice hockey league (NHL) said in a statement, issued after the suspension of the NBA NEWS, that they are evaluating options and on Thursday they will update their measures.
Across the United States, there have been more than 1,000 infections and at least 31 deaths from the virus so far, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).