SALT LAKE CITY — Eight days after the Utah Jazz’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder was canceled — a move that spurred the sports world into taking action amid the coronavirus pandemic following Rudy Gobert’s positive COVID-19 test — Jazz head coach Quin Snyder made his first public comments.
In a statement released on the Jazz’s social media pages Thursday morning, Snyder emphasized the need to work together and shared his gratitude for the support of the Jazz fanbase and people of Utah.
“We are not surprised by the response, as it just reiterates what we know, appreciate and embrace about this great community,” Snyder said. “But during extraordinary times like this it is certainly reassuring and profound. Team has always been our identity, and that extends to all within the state of Utah. We will navigate these uncharted waters together.”
After Gobert’s positive test on March 11, the rest of the Jazz were tested in Oklahoma City and the following day Donovan Mitchell became the second NBA player to test positive for the virus.
The Oklahoma and Utah State Department of Health worked in conjunction to educate the Jazz and their traveling party on how to navigate each individual’s self-quarantine and limit the spread of COVID-19.
“The caring and selfless approach of the experts in the Utah medical community was tremendous the first few days in our experience, and they are providing invaluable leadership right now,” Snyder said.
Since last week, eight more NBA players have tested positive, including Detroit’s Christian Wood, Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, along with three other members of the Nets, and on Thursday the Athletic reported that two Lakers players and one Celtics player tested positive.
On Wednesday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver appeared on ESPN and spoke candidly for more than 20 minutes about the state of the NBA, sports in general, and what things could look like moving forward.
When asked what his reaction was to hearing that four players from the Nets tested positive, Silver said that he wasn’t surprised.
“Based on what we’re hearing, and given the lack of testing that’s available, my sense is, especially in the New York area, that if you took almost any random group of New Yorkers that it would be increasingly likely that there would be some positive tests,” he said. “On top of that ... you could put our players in a category that some refer to as super-spreaders.”
According to a league source, in order to further limit spread, the NBA sent memos to teams Thursday informing them that all team facilities and training complexes would be closed to staff and teams beginning Friday.
Most teams had already shuttered their facilities, with staff working from home and players working out at home, but the league wanted to make sure that any type of close contact was limited and discouraged.
Although there are ideas being discussed about how the NBA could resume play sometime during the summer, the league remains indefinitely suspended and the truth is that, like the rest of the world, the NBA does not know when things will be able to return to normal.
With that in mind, Snyder closed his statement Thursday by urging people to follow the advice of health experts and to stay safe.
“Please make sure you all continue to follow their advice, and that of state and public officials,” he said. “And keep your families safe.”