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NBA suspends season after Utah Jazz player tests positive for coronavirus

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was listed as questionable before Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder because of an illness. File Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was listed as questionable before Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder because of an illness. File Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

March 11 (UPI) -- The NBA announced Wednesday that it has suspended its 2019-20 season until further notice after a player for the Utah Jazz tested positive for the coronavirus.

League sources told ESPN and The Athletic that the player is Jazz center Rudy Gobert. The All-Star big man was listed as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder because of an illness.

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"The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19," the league said in a statement.

"The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight's game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight's game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.

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"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 pandemic."

The league announced the decision after the game between the Jazz and Thunder was postponed seconds before tip-off.

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Gobert, who never entered the arena, but was in Oklahoma City, was feeling strong enough to play in Wednesday's game against the Thunder, according to ESPN and The Athletic. If he had been cleared of the virus, he was set to play.

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"This morning a player on the Utah Jazz tested negative for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection," the Jazz said in a statement Wednesday night.

"The individual's symptoms diminished over the course of today. However, in a precautionary measure, and in consultation and cooperation with NBA medical staff and Oklahoma health officials, the decision was made to test for COVID-19.

"We are working closely with the CDC, Oklahoma and Utah state officials and the NBA to determine how to best move forward as we gather more information. The individual is currently in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City. In coordination with the NBA and state officials, we will provide updates at the appropriate time."

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Jazz and Thunder players were on the floor for warm-ups when they were instructed to return to their locker rooms. About 30 minutes later, fans were informed that the game was postponed "due to unforeseen circumstances."

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Players from both teams are being quarantined at Chesapeake Energy Arena, according to ESPN.

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