MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Since the NBA’s shocking decision to suspend its regular season, two players have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Both players are members of the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, and the league is scrambling to test and quarantine other players as necessary.
And there’s a chance this could effect players and staff of the Memphis Grizzlies.
The NBA is specifically targeting the last 10 days for the Utah Jazz, so WREG investigated into every team they’ve played and every official who has reffed a game, all to see if this pandemic might have found its way to Memphis.
This is the first stoppage due to illness in the history of the league, causing an unprecedented disruption worth billions of dollars, but league officials are prioritizing health and safety.
“This is effectively self-quarantining everybody because again, it’s our responsibility to be vigilant,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said. “Players are in a unique position because wherever they are, people want to come up to them.”
The league is reportedly telling every team that played against the Jazz across the last 10 days to self-quarantine.
In that time span, the team played in five different cities across the country. They’ve had 15 different officials and played in front of more than 86,000 fans.
The Grizzlies haven’t played against the Jazz since they came to Memphis on Dec. 7. WREG’s research shows they had no mutual opponents and no shared referees during the time span in question.
The Grizzlies appear to have no direct connection to COVID-19, but even before the league shut down, they were preparing for the worst.
“I hope it’s not going to get here but, we just gotta stay safe, stay healthy, and nobody wants people to get sick, so we just have to follow protocol,” Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas said.
“We’re trying to educate them as much as possible,” head coach Taylor Jenkins said. “There’s rapid, new information coming every single day. At the end of the day, the health and safety, regardless of the situation, is paramount to us on an everyday basis.”
WREG reached out to the team about player testing and self-quarantine, but they referred us to a statement until further notice. It reads, in part: “We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work through this together.”
The coronavirus isn’t just affecting the NBA, it’s basically shut off the entire sports world.
The NCAA said Thursday all its spring and winter sports championships, including the NCAA Tournament, would be canceled. The American Athletic Conference, which houses the Memphis Tigers, said all spring sports will be postponed.