Two NBA players, both members of the Utah Jazz, have now tested positive for coronavirus, and teammates have suggested to reporters that “careless” behavior in the locker room by the first player to get the virus was likely the reason his teammate is now sick.
“Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus, league sources tell ESPN,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday morning. “Jazz players privately say that Rudy Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings. Now a Jazz teammate has tested positive.”
Jazz star Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus, league sources tell ESPN. Jazz players privately say that Rudy Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings. Now a Jazz teammate has tested positive.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020
“Jazz players are privately saying that Gobert showed a cavalier attitude toward the virus with his teammates in the locker room, touching them and their belongings,” ESPN reports. “And at Monday’s media availability, Gobert was seen touching all the microphones and tape recorders at the end of his session with reporters.”
— Dave Fox (@Davefox2) March 12, 2020
“We are working closely with the CDC, Oklahoma and Utah state officials, and the NBA to monitor their health and determine the best path moving forward,” the Jazz said in a statement confirming that Mitchell has tested positive for the virus.
Following Gobert’s positive test on Wednesday, the Jazz promptly postponed their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the league recommended self-quarantine for all players who faced off against the Jazz over the last 10 days. During that period, the Jazz played Boston, Cleveland, Detroit, New York and Toronto.
Shortly after the decision, the NBA announced that it was suspending its season.
“The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminary tested positive for COVID-19,” the NBA said in a statement Wednesday night. “The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.”
“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” the statement continued. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Amid the reports on the Jazz coronavirus cases, the Toronto Raptors, one of the teams that played the Jazz over the last ten days, announced on Thursday that “members of the team’s traveling party have been tested for coronavirus and that they are awaiting the results,” ESPN reports.
The league’s decision to suspend the season followed the NBA and other professional leagues’ attempts to protect players from potential exposure to the virus. In joint statement Monday night, the NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer announced new policies limiting contact with players.
“After consultation with infectious disease and public health experts, and given the issues that can be associated with close contact in pre- and post-game settings, all team locker rooms and clubhouses will be open only to players and essential employees of teams and team facilities until further notice. Media access will be maintained in designated locations outside of the locker room and clubhouse setting,” the statement read. “These temporary changes will be effective beginning with [Tuesday’s] games and practices. We will continue to closely monitor this situation and take any further steps necessary to maintain a safe and welcoming environment.”