The news of two Utah Jazz players testing positive for coronavirus has sent shockwaves around the NBA. The league suspended the season shortly after All-Star center Rudy Gobert’s results came back—one day before Donovan Mitchell’s status became known—and several teams are reportedly being asked to self-quarantine.
The Boston Celtics announced Thursday that they are one of the teams testing players and staff, as the Jazz recently played in Boston at the TD Garden last Friday.
“Specific to the news about the Utah players, the DPH has advised us that based on those players’ health statuses during this period, it is unlikely that anyone from the team came into contact with them while they were contagious,” the Celtics’ statement read. “However, notwithstanding this information, we are exercising an abundance of caution in taking every measure to be vigilant and safe.” Read the full statement here.
According to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan, the NBA had a plan in place in preparation for a player testing positive.
“This is the worst case scenario for the NBA,” she said Wednesday night. “Their biggest concern was one of the players testing positive, and if that happened, we had all been told that it was going to have to be shut down, and you can understand why. So question is, ‘where did Rudy Gobert get it? How long has he been infected?’ There were however many thousand people at TD Garden last Friday. The Utah Jazz played in that building. I was there. I’m sure some of your colleagues were there. I was at the Sloan MIT Analytics conference. I think half the journalists that were at that conference were at that game Friday night interacting with the Utah Jazz players and with Rudy Gobert and others, so you know it has far-reaching tentacles, and this was the one thing the NBA was hoping to avoid.”
Gobert Was Reportedly “Careless” with Virus
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that some of Gobert had been “careless” with the virus, choosing to deliberately touch his teammates’ belongings. Video of Gobert jokingly touching all the microphones and phones following a press conference on Monday has since gone viral.
A tweet from StatMuse showed just how quickly all 30 teams can be connected in just the last five days, making the NBA’s decision to suspend the season the right call. In addition to the Celtics, the Jazz also recently played Cleveland, New York, Detroit and Toronto.
Several other leagues have reportedly followed the NBA’s lead, including the MLB, NHL and MLS. Several NCAA tournaments have also been canceled.
Jaylen Brown Continues to Speak Out
Before word got out about Gobert’s results and the season suspension, Celtics forward Jaylen Brown took to his social media accounts to command everyone to take the pandemic seriously.
In a series of tweets, he encouraged everyone to play their part in “slowing down the spread of” the virus. He then went on Instagram Live, condemning some people for making jokes.
“I want just people to have the awareness of what’s going on,” he said in the video. “That this isn’t just a joke. This isn’t a conspiracy theory. This is for real. People will be affected by it. You may not see it now. As early as the new two weeks to a month, you might start seeing the effects.”
Thursday morning, he followed up with one more piece of advice: