NBA suspends season as player tests positive for coronavirus

Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) celebrates a dunk against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Monday, Feb. 10, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

WASHINGTON (SBG) -- The NBA has suspended its season indefinitely after Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.

In a statement, the league says game play will be suspended following the conclusion of Monday night's games. A nationally televised game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings was scheduled to begin at 10:30 p.m. eastern time on ESPN. But it was cancelled by the league because one of the game's referees, Courtney Kirkland, officiated Monday's night's Utah Jazz game against the Toronto Raptors.

According to a statement from the NBA, Gobert's positive test result for coronavirus was revealed before the tip-off of Monday's Utah Jazz/Oklahoma City Thunder game. The game was canceled before it began and both teams were quarantined inside of the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City.

Players from the Oklahoma City Thunder were eventually released but ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports the entire Jazz team remains quarantined due to the exposure they've had to their teammate.

The league says Gobert was not in the arena. Gobert tested negative for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection Wednesday morning, according to the Utah Jazz. The decision to test for COVID-19 was made as a precautionary measure by health officials with the NBA.

Shams Charania, a reporter with sister station Stadium, reports Gobert is "feeling good, strong and stable." Ironically on Monday, Gobert addressed the NBA's concerns about coronavirus during a press conference. The basketball player was caught on camera jokingly touching mics and recorders that were right in front of him.

Gobert is the second high-profile person to test positive for coronavirus. Actor Tom Hanks announced in a tweet on Wednesday night that he and his wife Rita Wilson have also tested positive in Australia.

Here is the NBA's full statement:

“The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and 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 NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”