The NBA season has been suspended “until further notice” after an unnamed played from the Utah Jazz tested positive for coronavirus.
The NBA became the latest major sporting league to take measures to curb the spread of the virus as it called a halt to action following Wednesday’s schedule.
“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s (Wednesday’s) schedule of games until further notice,” the organisation said in a statement.
“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
The decision came after Utah’s match away to the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena was called off shortly before tip-off when a Utah player recorded a preliminary positive test for Covid-19.
The NBA said the affected player was not at the venue.
Utah said the player tested negative for “influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection” on Wednesday morning and, even though his symptoms lessened as the day went on, he was tested for coronavirus as “a precautionary measure, and in consultation and cooperation with NBA medical staff and Oklahoma health officials”.
The team said in a statement: “When it was determined that the individual would be tested, we immediately informed the league office. The health and safety of our players, our organisation, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation are paramount in our discussions.”
It said the player was “currently in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City”.
It raises questions about where the league goes next, with the end-of-season play-offs approaching in April.
The Los Angeles Lakers are title favourites and their star player, LeBron James, wrote on Twitter: “Man we cancelling sporting events, school, office work, etc etc. What we really need to cancel is 2020! Damn it’s been a rough 3 months. God bless and stay safe.”