Faced with concerns and uncertainties over COVID-19 (coronavirus) and the impact on its games, its business and its extended family of players, coaches and fans, the NBA suspended the 2019-20 season Wednesday until further notice.
Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell confirmed on Thursday that they both had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Gobert posted about his illness on Instagram Thursday, writing, "I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours. ... I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus. I am under great care and will fully recover."
Gobert also apologized for a viral video in which he jokingly touched reporters' microphones two days before he was diagnosed.
Mitchell’s positive test was not known until early Thursday, the first full day of the NBA’s hiatus. Jazz players, staff and some beat writers covering the team were tested Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, where Utah was to play the Thunder in a game that was called off moments before tip-off once word about Gobert’s positive test was received.
It started as a joke: Before leaving a media session at shootaround in Salt Lake City on Monday in advance of a game against Detroit that night, Gobert touched all the tape recorders that were placed before him on a table, devices that reporters who cover the Jazz were using.
“You know, there’s not much we can do right now,” Gobert said in that session when asked about how teams are dealing with the virus. And a minute or so later, before he ran out a side door, he touched all the recorders.
It isn’t so funny now — not with two Jazz players now having tested positive for the virus, and with a league on edge. It is not known if Gobert is responsible for Mitchell contracting the virus, or vice versa.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Gobert became the center of why the league has been shut down for the foreseeable future after he became the first positive test. Among the immediate fallout.
Utah’s game against Oklahoma City Wednesday night was canceled and the season was suspended