Sea­son sus­pended un­til fur­ther no­tice

Gobert re­port­edly tests pos­i­tive for coro­n­avirus

Times-Herald (Vallejo) - - FRONT PAGE - By Tim Reynolds

The league made the de­ci­sion af­ter Utah’s Rudy Gobert re­port­edly tested pos­i­tive for the coro­n­avirus.

MI­AMI » The NBA has sus­pended its sea­son “un­til fur­ther no­tice” af­ter a Utah Jazz player tested pos­i­tive Wed­nes­day for the coro­n­avirus, a move that came only hours af­ter 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. A per­son with knowl­edge of the sit­u­a­tion said the Jazz player who tested pos­i­tive was cen­ter Rudy Gobert. The per­son spoke to The As­so­ci­ated Press on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause nei­ther the league nor the team con­firmed the pre­sump­tive pos­i­tive test.

“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. Eastern. “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.”

Those cir­cum­stances were the league’s worst-case sce­nario for now — a player test­ing pos­i­tive. A sec­ond per­son who spoke to AP on con­di­tion of anonymity said the league ex­pects the shut­down to last a min­i­mum of two weeks, but cau­tioned that time­frame is very fluid.

For most peo­ple, the 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.

The vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple re­cover from the new virus. Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion, which de­clared a pan­demic on Wed­nes­day, peo­ple with mild ill­ness re­cover in about two weeks, while those with more se­vere ill­ness may take three to six weeks to re­cover. In main­land China, where the virus first ex­ploded, more than 80,000 peo­ple have been di­ag­nosed and more

Rap­tors for­ward OG Anunoby (3) knocks the ball from Jazz cen­ter Rudy Gobert (27) as he drives to the bas­ket in the sec­ond half on Mon­day in Salt Lake City.

than 58,000 have so far re­cov­ered.

It has been a world­wide is­sue for sev­eral weeks. And now, it has hit the NBA.

Char­lotte Hor­nets coach James Bor­rego, speak­ing be­fore his team played at Mi­ami on Wed­nes­day — where news of the shut­down broke dur­ing the fourth quar­ter — said “these are scary times.”

The NBA’s move­ment to­ward empty are­nas in the short term came on the same day that the NCAA an­nounced that the men’s and women’s Divi­sion I tour­na­ments would be played with­out fans — ex­cept for a

few fam­ily mem­bers — per­mit­ted in­side to watch.

“Peo­ple are clearly tak­ing the mea­sures that they feel they need to take for safety,” said Mi­ami Heat guard Dun­can Robin­son, who played in both the Divi­sion I and Divi­sion III na­tional cham­pi­onship games dur­ing his col­lege days at Michi­gan and Wil­liams.

“There’s peo­ple a lot higher up than our­selves in this locker room who have the in­for­ma­tion and the knowl­edge to make those types of de­ci­sions,” Robin­son said. “In terms of if that were to hap­pen here ... we

love play­ing in front of our fans and we feel like that gives us an ad­van­tage. But at the same time the NBA has to pro­tect its play­ers in the league and the fans.”

Things have clearly been trend­ing to­ward empty are­nas for some time, and it was abun­dantly clear Wed­nes­day morn­ing when the di­rec­tor of the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Al­lergy and In­fec­tious Dis­eases told a Con­gres­sional com­mit­tee that he would rec­om­mend the NBA not al­low fans at games in re­sponse to the coro­n­avirus.

Dr. An­thony Fauci was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion asked by Rep. Glenn Groth­man, a Wis­con­sin Repub­li­can, “is the NBA un­der­re­act­ing or is the Ivy League over­re­act­ing?” Groth­man was ref­er­enc­ing how the Ivy League re­cently can­celed its bas­ket­ball tour­na­ments, in­stead of hav­ing them with­out fans or keep­ing the sta­tus quo.

“We would rec­om­mend that there not be large crowds,” Fauci said. “If that means not hav­ing any peo­ple in the au­di­ence when the NBA plays, so be it. But as a public health of­fi­cial, any­thing that has crowds is some­thing that would give a risk to spread.”


Rap­tors cen­ter Serge Ibaka (9) guards against Jazz cen­ter Rudy Gobert (27) in the first half on Mon­day in Salt Lake City.


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