Thunder players and staff test negative for COVID-19


Oklahoma City Thunder guard Chris Paul reacts after the team's win in an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets, Monday, Jan. 20, 2020, in Houston. (Eric Christian Smith/AP)

All members of the Oklahoma City Thunder, both players and staff, who were tested for COVID-19 have received negative results, the team announced on Wednesday.

The Thunder’s most recent game was slated to be against the Utah Jazz against March 11, but was postponed after the Jazz learned Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. Donovan Mitchell, Gobert’s teammate, also subsequently tested positive. Both players have since said their recovery is going well.

Oklahoma City consulted with infectious disease experts following the game to determine which players and staff would be in need of COVID-19 testing based on their exposure. According to the release, the Thunder did not use state resources to test their players, instead choosing an alternative path for testing its personnel in recognition of the stress Oklahoma’s medical system is under.

How NBA teams obtain tests as their availability to the public remains limited has been a contentious issue.

The Brooklyn Nets, who had four players test positive — including Kevin Durant — released a statement explaining that their tests were sourced through a private company and paid for by the team so as to not impact access to the Centers for Disease Control’s public resources.

“We sourced the tests through a private company and paid for them ourselves because we did not want to impact access to CDC’s public resources,” the statement says. “Using the test results, we were able to take immediate precautions and strictly isolate the players who tested positive.

“If we waited for players to exhibit symptoms, they might have continued to post a risk to their family, friends and the public. Our hope is that by drawing attention to the critical need for testing asymptomatic positive carriers, we can begin to contain the spread and save lives.”

Since the NBA’s postponement, it is unknown how many teams have been tested, but several franchises who recently played the Jazz have released results.

The Toronto Raptors’ players and staff all tested negative.

Last Saturday, Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons tested positive.

With the four Nets players who also tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the total presently sits at seven known players in the NBA.

The Nets announced that one player is exhibiting symptoms, while the other three are asymptomatic. All four players have been isolated and are under the care of team physicians.

Brooklyn’s most recent game was March 10 in Los Angeles against the Lakers. After the Nets announced their test results, the Lakers indicated that their team will be tested as well.

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