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NBA star Gobert sorry for virus pranks

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Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) talks with guard Donovan Mitchell, left, during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons Saturday, March 7, 2020, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Duane Burleson)

Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert, who has tested positive for Covid-19, has apologised for playfully touching mikes and tape recorders before being diagnosed with the virus.

Gobert is the first NBA player to test positive which prompted the league to suspend the season, and shortly after teammate Donovan Mitchell also confirmed he had contracted the virus.

"I was careless and make no excuse," Gobert said in an Instagram post.

Before leaving a media session at shootaround in Salt Lake City on Monday in advance of a game against Detroit that night, Gobert playfully touched all the tape recorders that were placed before him on a table, devices that reporters who cover the Jazz were using.

"You know, there's not much we can do right now," Gobert said in that session when asked about how teams are dealing with the virus.

And a minute or so later, before he ran out a side door, he touched all the recorders.

But with Mitchell now testing positive for the virus and the suspended league on edge, it is not known if Gobert is responsible for his teammate contracting the virus or vice versa.

"I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis. Mostly fear, anxiety and embarrassment," Gobert wrote.

"The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologise to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected."

 
 
 
 
 
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I want to thank everyone for the outpouring of concern and support over the last 24 hours. I have gone through so many emotions since learning of my diagnosis…mostly fear, anxiety, and embarrassment. The first and most important thing is I would like to publicly apologize to the people that I may have endangered. At the time, I had no idea I was even infected. I was careless and make no excuse. I hope my story serves as a warning and causes everyone to take this seriously. I will do whatever I can to support using my experience as way to educate others and prevent the spread of this virus . I am under great care and will fully recover. Thank you again for all your support. I encourage everyone to take all of the steps to stay safe and healthy. Love.

A post shared by Rudy Gobert (@rudygobert27) on

Jazz players, staff and some beat writers covering the team were tested Wednesday night in Oklahoma City, where Utah were to play the Thunder in a game that was called off moments before tip-off once word about Gobert's positive test was received.

The Detroit Pistons, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors - teams that have all recently played against Gobert, Mitchell and the Jazz - all said that they were having some players and staff self-quarantined for as many as 14 days.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, home to Australia's Matthew Dellavedova and Dante Exum who recently faced Utah, said they were not mandating quarantines yet but would if any of their players exhibit troubling symptoms.

Mitchell's positive test was not known until early Thursday, the first full day of the NBA's hiatus. He thanked fans for their support.

"Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test," Mitchell wrote in an Instagram post.

"We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realise that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them."

The Jazz said Thursday the team practice facility and Vivint Smart Home Arena - where they play games and other concerts and events take place - are being cleaned and sanitised.

The NBA shutdown could cost teams well into the hundreds of millions of dollars depending on how long the suspension lasts.

© AP 2020

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