NBA suspends all games as coronavirus spreads

The NBA suspended all games starting Thursday after a player on the Utah Jazz preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

The league said that play would be suspended until further notice.

The test result was reported shortly prior to tip-off of Wednesday night’s game between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder, according to a statement from the NBA. The game was canceled immediately.

The affected player was not in the arena at the time of cancelation. The NBA also announced that it would be using the hiatus to determine next steps.

A game between the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans was also suspended because one of the referees at the game had worked a Jazz game earlier in the week, according to NBC Sports.

Wednesday night’s other games were allowed to be played.

The move by the NBA is the biggest to date in response to concerns about spreading coronavirus. Earlier on Wednesday, the NCAA said it would restrict attendance at the upcoming March Madness basketball tournaments to staff and family.

Reporters at the Jazz-Thunder game tweeted that the entire stadium was emptied and both teams were still in their locker rooms while the Jazz bench area was cleaned.

The suspension follows an announcement by the Golden State Warriors that they would be playing a game on Thursday night without fans.

The Warriors said they “completely support” the league’s move to suspend games.

“As we noted earlier today, with the escalating situation surrounding COVID-19, we find ourselves in a rapidly-changing environment by the day, if not the hour,” the team said in a statement.

The NBA playoffs are set to start in mid-April. Most teams have fewer than 20 games left in the regular season.

The National Hockey League said in a statement that it is “aware of the NBA’s decision tonight to indefinitely suspend its season due to a player testing positive for the coronavirus.”

“The NHL is continuing to consult with medical experts and is evaluating the options. We expect to have a further update tomorrow,” the league said in the statement.

The NHL is scheduled to start its postseason on April 4.