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After Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell test positive for coronavirus, NBA hiatus will be ‘most likely at least 30 days,’ commissioner Adam Silver says

Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder meets with Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan and officials before before an NBA basketball game was postponed in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
Bryan Terry, The Oklahoman via Associated Press

Two Utah Jazz players have now tested positive for COVID-19.

All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell has tested positive for the coronavirus after it was announced that teammate Rudy Gobert had tested positive Wednesday, bringing the NBA season to a halt. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report Mitchell’s positive test.

The Jazz released a statement minutes later “confirming one additional positive outcome for a Jazz player,” although no specific name was given. Sarah Todd of the Deseret News has confirmed that the player who tested positive is indeed Mitchell, and that teammate Emmanuel Mudiay, who like Gobert was ill on Wednesday, tested negative.

The statement indicated that all members of the Jazz’s traveling party in Oklahoma City were tested. The Jazz remained in Oklahoma City overnight.

At a news conference Thursday afternoon with state leaders, in which Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced recommendations to limit gatherings to 100 for a two-week period, Larry H. Miller Group of Companies CEO and former Utah Jazz team president Steve Starks said the traveling party of 58 is on its way back to Utah minus Gobert and Mitchell, who remain in Oklahoma City.

He indicated that the two players did not have any symptoms before arriving in Oklahoma, which occurred Tuesday afternoon.

Gobert was found to have tested positive on Wednesday before tip-off of the Jazz-Thunder game, which prompted the testing of each of his teammates.

The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that 58 tests were administered.

“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’s statement Thursday morning read.

Gobert’s positive test prompted the NBA to initially suspend the season for at least two weeks, and on Thursday, commissioner Adam Silver said it would be “most likely at least 30 days.”

A few hours after news of Mitchell’s positive test was reported, he posted a message on Instagram to thank people for supporting him and to encourage others to both become more educated and help others.

“Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test,” he wrote. “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. I appreciate the authorities in Oklahoma who were helpful with the testing process and everyone from the @utahjazz who have been so supportive. 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”.

He ended his message with the heart and spider emojis.

As talked swirled Thursday afternoon around the notion that Gobert had not been cautious in his actions over the past few days even though he didn’t know until Wednesday that he had the virus — including reporting from Wojnarowski — he posted an apologetic message on Instagram a few hours after Mitchell.

“I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours,” he wrote. “I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment.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. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus .I am under great care and will fully recover. Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy. Love.”

On Thursday night, the Jazz sent a press release indicating that all members of the traveling party to Oklahoma City except Gobert and Mitchell met with Dr. Angela Dunn, the state epidemiologist for the Utah Department of Health. The release said players are participating in a 14-day self-quarantine and that team medical staff will monitor their health on a daily basis.

“The families and loved ones of Jazz players who have not had close contact with the two positive cases pose absolutely no risk to the general public,” Dunn said in the release. “We have provided them with all the essential information and recommendations. The Utah Jazz are an important part of our community, and we appreciate their willingness to follow our advice and their desire to do what is best for Utah citizens.”

In the wake of the positive tests for both Gobert and Mitchell, a number of teams the Jazz have recently played released statements indicating their organizations would be taking extra precautions to make sure their players, other employees and arenas were safe.

The Jazz were on the road from March 1-March 7, with stops in Cleveland, New York, Boston and Detroit before coming back to Salt Lake City for a Monday night game against the Toronto Raptors.

The Thunder released a statement Thursday about ticket policies for Wednesday’s postponed game, saying in part, “As a general rule, it is the team’s goal that fans will never have to pay for a ticket for a game that was not played.”