OKLAHOMA CITY -- At the direction of the Oklahoma State Health Department, the Oklahoma City Thunder players and staff will be administered coronavirus tests after potentially being exposed to the virus Wednesday against the Utah Jazz, a team spokesperson tells ESPN.
Thunder staffers and players were advised to self-quarantine for a period of 24 hours to allow any possible infection to incubate and properly show up in test results, and that will determine the timing of the testing. Many stayed in hotels in the OKC area rather than going home.
Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus, setting off the postponement of the NBA season. His positive test came with an important caveat: He was never inside Chesapeake Energy Arena, never sitting in a courtside seat watching film with an assistant coach, never grabbing a basketball to warm up pregame.
But with news breaking that a second Jazz player, Donovan Mitchell, tested positive for the virus, the scope of the situation changed. Though the rest of the Jazz's traveling party tested negative, Mitchell was in the arena, warming up, ball boys rebounding for him, interacting and talking with Thunder players. He was even at a local high school the night before, getting in a private workout and taking pictures with kids.
The Jazz didn't leave the arena for six hours from the beginning of the delay on Wednesday, quarantined in the locker room wearing masks and blue rubber gloves as they waited for CDC officials to administer tests. Meanwhile, just 100 or so feet down the hall, at the direction of health officials, Thunder players were only given a fever check and sent home hours before with orders for a self-quarantine and to monitor for developing symptoms.
Health department officials arrived at the arena around 10 p.m. CT to administer tests to the Jazz, but held a meeting in a back hallway that included an apparent crash course on how to actually do the test. Around 11 p.m. CT, they began conducting the tests inside the Jazz locker room.
Hours into the locker room quarantine, wearing blue gloves, Mitchell left the locker room and returned to the court briefly, alongside teammate Jordan Clarkson, looking for coach Quin Snyder.
The Jazz returned to their team hotel around 1:30 a.m. CT with arrangements being made on how they would travel back to Salt Lake City on Thursday, with pending test results playing a factor. Included in that was a possible plan to have two separate charters: a negative test plane and a positive test plane, according to sources.
Once back in Salt Lake City, according to sources, hotel accommodations were being arranged for the Jazz to quarantine again, with positive tests and negative tests separated.