Second Utah Jazz player tests positive for coronavirus


(Reuters) – A second player for the NBA’s Utah Jazz tested positive for COVID-19, the team confirmed on Thursday, a day after the league said it was suspending the season until further notice amid the global coronavirus outbreak.

The team did not disclose the player’s identity but Utah’s All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell thanked everyone who had reached out to him since hearing about his positive test.

The news came the day after Rudy Gobert reportedly became the first player in the league to test positive for the virus, prompting the cancellation of Wednesday’s Jazz game in Oklahoma City moments before tip-off.

Once the test result became known the game was called off.

“We are working closely with the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Oklahoma and Utah state officials, and the NBA to monitor their health and determine the best path moving forward,” the team said in a statement.

The NBA said it will use the hiatus to determine the next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.

The playoffs were scheduled to start on April 18 with the finals set to begin on June 4.

Players from teams that Jazz has played in the past 10 days were told to self-quarantine, ESPN reported, citing sources.

Those teams are the Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors.

Mitchell thanked authorities in Oklahoma who administered tests to the Jazz organization for being supportive.

“We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well-being of those around them,” he wrote on Instagram.

“I am going to keep following the advice of our medical staff and hope that we can all come together and be there for each other and our neighbors who need our help.”

Gobert also took to Instagram to thank his fans and apologize for a video that showed him mocking warnings about spreading the virus by touching the microphones and cables at the end of a press conference.

“I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis … mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment,” he said.

“The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse.

“I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously.”

Jazz guard Evan Fournier on Wednesday said he had spoken to Gobert and that his fellow Frenchman was doing well.

“Was just on the phone with Rudy. He is doing good man. Let’s not panic everyone. Love you all,” he wrote on Twitter.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery and Rory Carroll, Editing by Mark Heinrich/Ed Osmond/Ken Ferris)