NBA suspends season after Jazz player tests positive

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Steven Adams #12 of the Oklahoma City Thunder guards Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz during an opening night game at Vivint Smart Home Arena on October 23, 2019 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Alex Goodlett | Getty Images

The National Basketball Association on Wednesday night suspended its season indefinitely after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the new coronavirus.

“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of [Wednesday night’s] schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”

Shortly afterward, the National Hockey League said that it is “continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options” for its ongoing season.

“We expect to have a further update” Thursday, the NHL said.

The NBA said it learned the unidentified Utah player tested positive shortly before the Oklahoma City Thunder was set to host the Jazz on Wednesday.

That game was canceled close to the scheduled tipoff in Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Fans already in attendance were told by an official on the public address system to leave “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

“You are all safe,” the official said, before asking spectators to exit “in an orderly fashion.”

The NBA said that the Jazz player who tested positive for the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, was not in the arena.

According to the official NBA injury report, Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Emmanuel Mudiay were both listed as out of Wednesday’s game due to “illness.”

The NBA’s statement did not reveal whether Gobert or Mudiay tested positive for coronavirus, nor did it identify any other player.

The NBA game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings for Wednesday in Sacramento also was canceled, for what the league said was “an abundance of caution.”

“One of the referees assigned to work in the game also worked a Utah Jazz game earlier this week,” the league said.

Wednesday’s other scheduled NBA games were played.

The NBA’s announcement, which comes as the league’s playoffs are scheduled to begin in mid-April, was the latest in a recent string of coronavirus-related shocks to the sports world.

Earlier Wednesday, the Golden State Warriors announced fans would not be allowed to attend its next home game after San Francisco Mayor London Breed banned all events with more than 1,000 people in the city.

The NCAA also announced Wednesday that its men’s and women’s college basketball tournaments will play in arenas without fans. Only team staff and family would be allowed to attend those tournament games.

The World Health Organization declared earlier in the day that the coronavirus outbreak had become a pandemic.

So far, there have been at least 118,381 cases of coronavirus around the world. At least 1,279 cases are confirmed in the U.S., according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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