Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the first NBA player to reportedly test positive for COVID-19 and who drew the ire of numerous people when the league initially suspended the season, says he is still not fully recovered more than three months after his original diagnosis.
Speaking with French outlet L’Equipe last week, the All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year said of his condition, “The taste has returned, but the smell is still not 100 percent. I can smell the smells, but not from afar. I spoke to specialists, who told me that it could take up to a year.”
Loss of taste and smell are among the symptoms of COVID-19.
Gobert was diagnosed with the virus on March 11, and the NBA suspended its season following play that night. Two days earlier, Gobert was seen touching every reporters’ microphone stationed at the podium at the end of a media session that addressed, in part, the coronavirus.
On March 12, the Jazz confirmed that All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell also tested positive, with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting at the time, “Jazz players privately say that Rudy Gobert had been careless in the locker room touching other players and their belongings. Now a Jazz teammate has tested positive.”
That led to a reported rift between Gobert and Mitchell, though Utah executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey said in May the two players were ready to “move on.”
Gobert also pledged to donate $500,000 for arena employees in Utah and Oklahoma City, as well as his native France. The Jazz were in Oklahoma City when Gobert tested positive.
“I still feel strange things, but I have never been so long in my life without playing a basketball game,” Gobert told L’Equipe.
“I don’t know if that is it or the aftermath of the virus. I’m starting to train thoroughly, I still haven’t played five-on-five, but I train individually, I do boxing, swimming, I run in the mountains. Today, I would not say that I feel more tired than before. But I had experiences, a month and a half ago, which scared me. I felt like ants in my toes and wondered what it could be. There were quite a few little things like that.”
The Jazz are among the 22 teams who will take part when the NBA resumes the season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla., beginning next month.
Tthe Jazz are in fourth place in the Western Conference, 1 1/2 games behind Denver for third and 8 1/2 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Lakers.