NBA commissioner Adam Silver appeared on Inside the NBA with Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal on Thursday to discuss the league's decision to suspend games over concerns of coronavirus outbreak. Silver refrained from making an early judgement on the situation but admitted the hiatus could last for at least '30 days'.
Wednesday night's (Thursday IST) game between Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz was suspended after Jazz center Rudy Gobert was tested positive for coronavirus. The NBA subsequently suspended all games with fears of a further outbreak in the country. Adam Silver explained the decision to immediately suspend the league stating it was important to ensure that everyone in the NBA community was safe and healthy.
Sliver further added that the situation with the outbreak is changing constantly and the officials are biding their time before making a decision if and when the 2019-20 NBA season will resume.
Adam Silver also addressed the possibility of the current season being cancelled stating 'it is too early to make a call'. However, Silver further added, “Of course it’s possible. I just don’t know more at this point. There’s another factor that may go to the seasonality of this virus. We’ve talked to a lot of experts and some have a theory that it’s, as with the common flu as the weather changes, we may begin to see it peter out a little bit. Again, we don’t know.”
Fellow NBA analyst on Inside the NBA, Charles Barkley was present on the show via phone. Barkley noted that he has been tested for COVID-19 and is in self-isolation for 48 hours. Barkley further added that he is still awaiting the test results.
After Rudy Gobert was tested positive, the entire Jazz roster was tested for coronavirus. Gobert's teammate Donovan Mitchell was the only player who tested positive in the Jazz squad. However, this past week Gobert reportedly interacted with over 30 players, most notably with players from Toronto Raptors, who Jazz faced on Monday night (Tuesday IST). It is reported that Raptors and Thunder have both put their players into self-quarantine for a period of 14 days.
With the league in an unfamiliar lockdown, NBA has reportedly put in place several protocols for the 30 NBA teams. Some of the protocols are mentioned here:
The NBA has informed all 30 teams on policies effective immediately and through March 16, including:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
- All players must remain in market of team
- Players remain home as long as possible
- NO group workouts, practices
- Team physicians/trainers speak to each player once a day
NBA has informed franchises that "each team is encouraged" to conduct educational meeting by Monday for players/staff with physicians to discuss coronavirus situation -- either in person (appropriate spacing) or remotely.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 13, 2020
Several teams had such meetings before suspended season.