Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has tested positive for COVID-19, entering the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.
Gobert was the first NBA player to test positive for the Coronavirus on March 11, 2020, with his positive test resulting in an immediate suspension of the NBA season.
Utah had been one of the more fortunate teams so far this season and had managed to avoid any major disruptions to their squad through Health and Safety Protocols, but now have two players absent – Australian Joe Ingles also entered protocols on Tuesday.
Prior to Ingles’ placement, the Jazz had been the only NBA team yet to have a player in protocols this season.
All 29 other teams had one player sidelined by COVID-19 at some point in the last three weeks during this outbreak, many of them placing more than 10 players on that list.
Gobert was at the center of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, and he made headlines when just days before testing positive he placed his hands across reporters’ voice recorders and microphones before exiting the room.
“That it came from a good intention,” Gobert said he wanted people to know about the incident. “It was the first day that we found out that the media was not going to be able to interview us, right next to us, and, you know, we obviously didn’t know as much as we know now, and I only did that to try to liven the mood a little bit. It was, of course, if I could go back in time, I wouldn’t do it.”
Days later he tested positive and the season was suspended. Two years on, the league is experiencing a surge in cases, as many franchises battle just to have enough players available to suit up. Teams are able to sign players under the hardship exception – the hardship exemption is a temporary roster spot that allows teams to exceed the 15-man roster limit in times of need (multiple players being out because of injury or illness), but the signings are only temporary until they once again have enough players to suit up.
Gobert is averaging 15.5 points, 15.1 rebounds in 37 games so far this season.
Utah (28-10) will face the Raptors in Toronto on Friday.