The Los Angeles Lakers released a statement on Thursday confirming that two of their players had recently tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
"Following four Brooklyn Nets players testing positive for COVID-19, because Los Angeles Lakers' players were exposed to them during our game against the Nets on March 10, our team physicians and public health officials recommended coronavirus testing for the players," the statement read, as quoted by Bleacher Report.
"We learned today that two Lakers players have tested positive. Both players are currently asymptomatic, in quarantine and under the care of the team's physician."Although the Lakers chose not to disclose the identities of the individuals in question, Bleacher Report cited Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes, who tweeted that center JaVale McGee was not among the Lakers who received positive test results. The veteran big man, as further noted, is an asthmatic who had missed some time last season due to a bout with pneumonia.
With the above announcement, the two unnamed Lakers have joined a growing list of individuals within the NBA who have tested positive for the coronavirus. On Wednesday, March 11, it was reported that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive, leading to the NBA's decision to cancel his team's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and suspend the 2019-20 season indefinitely later that night. Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, Detroit Pistons forward Christian Wood, and Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant and three unspecified teammates also tested positive in recent days.Although the organization likewise did not reveal any further information, three people within the Philadelphia 76ers had recently gotten positive results after the team's players, coaches, and staff members underwent tests for the coronavirus.
In addition to the above individuals, Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart took to Twitter on Thursday to confirm that he had tested positive as well. In a short video, Smart advised his fans to take COVID-19 "with the highest of seriousness," encouraging them as well to practice social distancing, avoid large groups of people, and wash their hands to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
As other reports have suggested, the Lakers are still testing their players for coronavirus, with the Los Angeles Times' Brad Turner tweeting that 14 of them had undergone tests on Wednesday. As further cited by Bleacher Report, The Athletic and Stadium reporter Shams Charania noted on Thursday morning that the organization "may test" the players who did not undergo the process on Wednesday.