The Memphis Grizzlies playoff push has been put on hold for now...and for very good reason.
The NBA announced Wednesday night that the league was suspending playing upon completion of the games being played on March 11th. This decision, while seemingly on the horizon given the progression of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and the responses from the NCAA with regard to the upcoming Men’s and Women’s basketball tournaments, was apparently expedited upon the discovery of Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz testing positive for the virus. The Athletic and Stadium’s Shams Charania and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski broke the story within minutes of one another.
Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert has tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
Sources say Gobert is feeling good, strong and stable — and was feeling strong enough to play tonight.
Following Rudy Gobert's positive COVID-19 test, the NBA is in an indefinite suspension. https://t.co/h7YpWMrvGE— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) March 12, 2020
The Jazz and Thunder players are currently quarantined in the OKC arena, league sources tell ESPN. This is following Rudy Gobert testing positive for the coronavirus.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 12, 2020
.@royceyoung reports that the Thunder-Jazz game was seconds away from tipping off when the Thunder's head medical staffer sprinted onto the floor to talk to referees in Oklahoma City.— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) March 12, 2020
At that point, players and staff were sent back to their respective locker rooms. pic.twitter.com/WsSOU09kVP
The unprecedented move, in the short term, postpones the postseason pursuit of the Grizzlies for the foreseeable future. Memphis, who enters this uncertain period with a multiple game lead for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, was enjoying a season that no one saw coming in terms of success. Now the attention rightfully turns away from the play of the court and the growing issues off the court not just for the players in quarantine and Gobert himself, but the United States and world at large.
Please follow warnings and advisories about the best ways to combat the spread of the virus, and prioritize your health and safety and that of your families at this time. The NBA has taken the steps necessary to do that for the league at large with this decision, and as the rest of the sports world continues to react to our short-term reality hopefully the rest of the globe is able to combat the pandemic in the days and weeks ahead.
Stick with GBB as the story develops.