Kings forward Jabari Parker announced Wednesday he has tested positive for the coronavirus and guard Buddy Hield was reported to be infected as well. Hield’s test was first reported by The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Shams Charania.
In a statement issued by the team, Parker said he tested positive last week. He is recovering in Chicago but plans to rejoin the team in Florida in the coming weeks as the NBA prepares to resume the ill-fated 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
“Several days ago I tested positive for COVID-19 and immediately self-isolated in Chicago which is where I remain,” Parker said. “I am progressing in my recovery and feeling well. I look forward to joining my teammates in Orlando as we return to the court for the resumption of the NBA season.”
Hield participated in a Skinz League pro-am game in Oklahoma two weeks ago. The reigning NBA 3-Point Contest champion was a big part of the team’s turnaround after coach Luke Walton moved Bogdan Bogdanovic into the starting lineup, taking Hield’s spot. In February, Hield averaged 18.4 points while shooting 46.3% from 3-point range. The Kings went 13-7 after Walton made the lineup change.
Coronavirus testing has begun at NBA facilities across the country this week and several players have already tested positive. The list includes Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, two unidentified members of the Phoenix Suns and four members of an unspecified Western Conference playoff team, according to various reports.
NBA teams will continue to undergo extensive testing over the next two weeks as they prepare to converge on Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., about 20 miles outside of Orlando. Players who test positive will be quarantined and must produce two negative test results in a span of more than 24 hours before they will be cleared to return.
The NBA addressed the possibility of positive test results in a 113-page “Health and Safety Protocols” manual distributed to teams last week, stating: “The occurrence of a small or otherwise expected number of COVID-19 cases will not require a decision to suspend or cancel the resumption of the 2019-20 season.”