The NBA has suspended its season "until further notice" after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus, a move that came only hours after the majority of the league's owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.
Now there will be no games at all, at least for the time being. A person with knowledge of the situation said the Jazz player who tested positive was centre Rudy Gobert.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because neither the league nor the team confirmed the presumptive positive test.
"The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight's schedule of games until further notice," the league said in a statement sent shortly after 9:30 p.m. Eastern. "The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic."
The test result, the NBA said, was reported shortly before the scheduled tip-off time for the Utah at Oklahoma City game on Wednesday night was called off.
Players were on the floor for warmups and tip-off was moments away when they were told to return to their locker rooms. About 30 minutes later, fans were told the game was postponed "due to unforeseen circumstances."
Those circumstances were the league's worst-case scenario for now -- a player testing positive. A second person who spoke to AP on condition of anonymity said the league expects the shutdown to last a minimum of two weeks, but cautioned that timeframe is very fluid.
For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
The vast majority of people recover from the new virus.
According to the World Health Organization, which declared a pandemic, people with mild illness recover in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.
It has been a worldwide issue for several weeks. And now, it has hit the NBA.