Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (C), shown Feb. 17, 2021, was the first known NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 at the onset of the pandemic. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
Jan. 6 (UPI) -- The Utah Jazz placed All-Star center Rudy Gobert in the league's COVID-19 protocols Thursday after the standout big man tested positive for the coronavirus.
Gobert, who was the first known NBA player to test positive for COVID-19 at the onset of the pandemic, was ruled out for the Jazz's game against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. It remains unclear how long he will be sidelined, though most players who enter the league's health and safety protocols miss at least a week.
The 29-year-old Gobert didn't play in Utah's win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night because of an undisclosed illness, according to the team. The Athletic reported that Gobert took two rapid tests that day, both of which came back negative. However, a PCR test that was processed overnight came back Thursday with a positive result.
Gobert is the second Jazz player to enter the league's protocols, joining veteran sharpshooter Joe Ingles. Utah entered the week as the only NBA team to not have a player in the protocols this season, but that streak came to an end when Ingles was added to the list Tuesday.
On March 11, 2020, Gobert was dealing with flu-like symptoms when the Jazz were in Oklahoma City for a game. He eventually tested positive for COVID-19, a result that the Jazz and the NBA learned of just moments before the start of that contest against the Thunder.
The game between the Jazz and Thunder was called, and about 90 minutes later, the NBA's 2019-20 season was indefinitely suspended.
Since then, the NBA has implemented measures to limit COVID-19 disruptions. Over the past few weeks, however, the league has experienced multiple outbreaks and postponements.
In total, 11 games have been postponed this season, while dozens of coaches, staffers and referees have been sidelined due to virus issues. There were about 125 players in the NBA's protocols midway through last week, but that number fell to 56 by Thursday evening.
Nearly 300 players have been in the NBA's COVID-19 protocols already this season.