Jazz-Thunder game abruptly postponed after Rudy Gobert tests positive for coronavirus

The Oklahoma City Thunder were all set to host the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.

Just seconds before tip, however, the game was abruptly postponed while players were sent to the locker room at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Shortly thereafter, the reason became clear.

Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, which quickly prompted the NBA to suspend the season indefinitely.

Gobert was not at the arena on Wednesday for the team shootaround in the morning or for the game on Wednesday night, and is “in the care of health officials” in Oklahoma City.

The 27-year-old was listed as questionable ahead of the game due to “illness,” just days after the veteran center touched every media member’s microphone and recorder to make a point about the coronavirus. According to Charania, Gobert was “feeling good, strong and stable.”

Jazz point guard Emmanuel Mudiay was also listed as questionable due to illness.

According to Royce Young of ESPN, Thunder guard Chris Paul ran over to the Utah bench before the game asking what was wrong with Gobert, but was yelled at to get away.

Players were immediately quarantined in the locker rooms. The Thunder left the arena, however the Jazz were kept there to be tested for the coronavirus by health officials. That testing has since been completed, and players are waiting at the arena for results to be processed. Per Young, they are planning to stay the night at the arena, and other team personnell is being tested at the team hotel.

Gobert, the Jazz said, was tested for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection on Wednesday morning, all of which came back negative. That is when they decided to test him for the coronavirus.

“In a precautionary measure ... the decision was made to test [Gobert] for COVID-19,” the Jazz said in a statement, in part. “A preliminary positive result came back right before tip-off of the Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City game. Subsequently, the decision was correctly made by the NBA to postpone the game. When it was determined that the individual would be tested, we immediately informed the league office.”

The Salt Lake City Stars, the Jazz’s G League team, had their game against the Northern Arizona Suns postponed on Wednesday, too. Two of their players, Miye One and Jarrell Brantley, were reportedly with the Jazz last week and are now waiting to be tested for the virus, according to Stadium’s Jeff Goodman. The G League has suspended it’s season, too.

According to ESPN, players from teams who have played the Jazz within the last 10 days — the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors — have been told to self-quarantine. The Raptors, who played the Jazz in Salt Lake City on Monday, were given precautionary tests for the virus on Wednesday night, per Charania.

Officials abruptly postpone game

Moments before the game was scheduled to tip, the Thunder’s head medical director came sprinting out onto the floor and grabbed the officials.

Officials quickly sent players to their respective benches while they conferred with coaches Billy Donovan and Quinn Snyder. They then all retreated to the locker rooms.

While both teams were in the locker rooms, the Thunder proceeded to run the scheduled halftime performance and throw out shirts to fans inside the arena.

Officials then announced that the game would be postponed to a later date without specifying a reason, and that everyone needed to leave the arena. The arena announcer assured fans multiple times that there was no emergency.

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, prompting the league to suspend the season.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday, prompting the league to suspend the season. (AP/Rick Bowmer)

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