March 16, 2020 / 1:44 AM / 21 days ago

Gobert sorry for not taking coronavirus more seriously

FILE PHOTO: Mar 13, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; A poster of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert (27) hangs near an empty main entrance at Vivint Smart Home Arena, where the Utah Jazz would have hosted the New Orleans Pelicans, following the suspension of the NBA season after two Jazz players tested positive for the coronavirus. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) - Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert, whose coronavirus diagnosis last Wednesday was the first domino that effectively shut down American sports, regrets not having taken the threat more seriously, he said in a social media post on Sunday.

“I’ve been feeling a little better every single days,” the 27-year-old Frenchman said on the National Basketball Association (NBA) twitter feed.

Gobert was diagnosed with the virus two days after playfully touching reporters’ microphones and recorders at the end of a news conference.

“I wish I would have took this thing more seriously and I hope everyone else will do so,” he said on Sunday.

News of Gobert’s diagnosis minutes before the scheduled tip-off of a game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder led to the surreal scene of a member of the Thunder’s medical staff running onto the court to tell the referees, while the players were warming up.

The officials then consulted both coaches in a huddle for several minutes before sending the players back to the locker room, the game canceled.

Gobert was not at the stadium.

The NBA that night suspended the entire league, and within 36 hours nearly every major American sport had followed suit, including the National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, the PGA and LPGA Tours and NCAA college basketball.

A second Utah player, Donovan Mitchell, tested positive for coronavirus last Thursday.

Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina. Editing by Gerry Doyle

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