The NBA season has been suspended until further notice over concerns about the virus outbreak.
The decision was announced after a Utah Jazz player tested positive Wednesday for the coronavirus, and only hours after the majority of the league's owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.
A person with knowledge of the situation said the player who tested positive was Jazz center Rudy Gobert. It came a few days after Gobert was touching mics at a press event on Monday.
The Jazz released a statement saying a player - they did not identify Gobert - tested negative Wednesday morning for flu, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection. That player's symptoms diminished as the day went along, but the decision was made to test for COVID-19. That test came back with a preliminary positive result.
The league says it will use the hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward regarding the pandemic.
The test result was reported shortly before the scheduled tip-off of the Jazz-Thunder game in Oklahoma City. Players were on the floor for warmups and the opening tip was moments away when they were sent to their locker rooms. Fans were told about 30 minutes later that the game was postponed “due to unforeseen circumstances."
Wednesday’s Pelicans-Kings game also was postponed due to the virus. The league says the game was postponed “out of an abundance of caution because one of the referees assigned to work in the game also worked a Utah Jazz game earlier this week.”