NBL JackJumpers hit by 10 virus cases

Ethan James |

The Tasmania JackJumpers have recorded 10 coronavirus cases among players and coaches, leaving the NBL side unable to field a team.

The team’s next two games, against the Sydney Kings at home and South East Melbourne Phoenix away on January 8 and 10 respectfully, have been postponed by the NBL.

The JackJumpers say the cases, nine of which are believed to be players, were picked up by rapid antigen and PCR testing.

They are unable to meet the minimum requirements for a team under NBL protocols.

“Unfortunately, a number of players and coaching staff have now contracted the virus and we’re unable to field the eight players required for a game,” JackJumpers CEO Simon Brookhouse said on Thursday.

“The players’ safety is absolutely paramount and we will assist their recovery as best we can in order to continue a competitive inaugural season.”

All players and performance staff are now isolating and will undergo regular testing.

Brookhouse said the JackJumpers will work with the Kings and Phoenix to find appropriate dates for rescheduled fixtures, with their round-seven game against New Zealand Breakers in Hobart on January 14 expected to go ahead.

“We’re certainly not the only NBL team directly impacted by COVID cases and being adaptable to change is one of the challenges of elite sport especially in the current environment,” Brookhouse said.

“I don’t suspect this short break and recovery time will disrupt the boys too much.”

Brookhouse said all players were due out of isolation by Tuesday and Wednesday.

“A couple don’t have any symptoms at all. They were quite shocked when they tested positive,” he said.

“There’s a few with a scratchy throat and a few other things, but  ultimately they’re very mild symptoms.”

The NBL has been forced to postpone or reschedule several matches due to COVID-19 cases across several teams.

The Wildcats’ match against the Adelaide 36ers on Friday night has been shifted to January 12 in Adelaide.

An amended round six of the competition begins with the Cairns Taipans hosting the Sydney Kings on Saturday night.