NBA Suspends Season after Utah Jazz Player Tests Positive for COVID-19

NBA athletes

The NBA has suspended its season “until further notice” after a Utah Jazz player tested positive Wednesday for the coronavirus.

Earlier in the day, the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas. Now there will be no games at all, at least for the time being.

The Jazz player who tested positive was center Rudy Gobert.

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement sent shortly after 9:30 p.m. EDT. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

The test result, the NBA said, was reported shortly before the scheduled tip-off time for the Utah at Oklahoma City game on Wednesday night was called off. Players were on the floor for warmups and tip-off was moments away when they were told to return to their locker rooms. About 30 minutes later, fans were told the game was postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

The Jazz released a statement saying a player tested negative earlier Wednesday for flu, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection. That player’s symptoms diminished as the day went along, but the decision was made to test for COVID-19 anyway. That test came back with a preliminary positive result.

“The individual is currently in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City,” the Jazz said, adding that updates would come as appropriate.

The last game of the night’s six-game slate, New Orleans at Sacramento, was called off as well because one of the referees assigned to work that Pelicans-Kings game, Courtney Kirkland, worked a Utah game on Monday.

“The game was canceled out of an abundance of caution,” the NBA said.

There are 259 games, roughly 21% of the schedule, left to play this season — and no one knows if, or when, things will resume.