Surprising fans and team owners alike, the NBA announced late Wednesday that it is suspending its 2020 season until further notice after a player tested positive for coronavirus. The postponement went into effect following the conclusion of Wednesday's games.
Sports Illustrated's Ben Pickman reported that the NBA has asked teams to submit their schedules through July.
A Utah Jazz player tested positive for COVID-19 just before the tip-off of the Jazz/Oklahoma City Thunder game in the Chesapeake Energy Arena, prompting the announcement.
The affected player, center Rudy Gobert, was not in the arena. According to a statement from the Utah Jazz, a player on the team who tested negative for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection, was tested for COVID-19 as a precautionary measure. The result came back positive and the NBA subsequently decided to postpone the game. The infected player is now in the care of Oklahoma City health officials.
The Utah Jazz said it is working closely with the CDC, Oklahoma and Utah state officials, and the NBA to determine how best to move forward, noting the health and safety of the players, fans, league and anyone who could potentially be impacted are of paramount concern. The team said it will provide updates as they develop.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix wrote that the shocking decision was the only thing the NBA could do. "The NBA did the only responsible thing. The coronavirus is spreading everywhere," Mannix wrote
Elsewhere, in sports, the NCAA announced Wednesday that the March Madness tournament will be played without fans.
News of the suspension of the NBA season is just the latest effect of the coronavirus outbreak which has seen events ranging from South by Southwest to St. Patrick's Day parades canceled or postponed.
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