Ingles Received False-Positive COVID-19 Test Before Jazz Opener

Dec 22, 2020, 2:25 PM | Updated: 2:27 pm
Joe Ingles - Utah Jazz...
Joe Ingles #2 of the Utah Jazz gestures toward his bench during their game against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Vivint Smart Home Arena on December 25, 2018 in Salt Lake City , Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Jazz have yet to play a regular-season game, but they’ve already been forced to deal with the challenges of an NBA season plagued by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Jazz will be with their full opening night roster when they face the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, but that almost wasn’t the case after guard Joe Ingles received a false-positive COVID-19 test last week.

Ingles wasn’t with the Jazz at practice on Sunday after receiving the false-positive. The guard was required to stay away from the team’s facilities, and quarantine on his own away from his family until further testing was completed.

“I got the kids to come down, they were all negative, the whole family was negative,” Ingles said after receiving his first test result. “So I retested again on another rapid (test) that came back negative. So then I was obviously incredibly confused.”

Ingles spent the night in a hotel while a more accurate test was sent out of state. That test was then lost en route to the testing facility but ultimately found hours later. Then, after another round of testing through an alternate hospital, Ingles was allowed to return home before finally rejoining the Jazz.

While the Jazz escaped this incident without any major issues affecting them on the floor, Ingles false-positive served as a good reminder for what all NBA teams will face this season.

“If it happened today for example I would have missed the game tomorrow,” Ingles said. “So that’s the frustrating part. If you’re healthy and injury-free, then you miss [a game] for that. But I think we all are well aware of the situation this year and it’s probably going to happen more than once.”

New Australian Connection

While Ingles is currently the only Australian player on the roster, the Jazz added another Aussie connection when Mike Cannon-Brookes purchased a minority share of the team with owner Ryan Smith.

Cannon-Brookes is the fifth-wealthiest person in Australia and an avid Jazz fan by way of Smith and Utah’s booming tech industry.

Though Ingles now has a personal relationship with Cannon-Brookies through Smith and his appearances sitting courtside at games, he said he first introduction to the eccentric billionaire was through Australia’s housing market.

“He bought the most expensive house in Australia,” Ingles said of Cannon-Brookes. “I’m obsessed with real estate, so to me, that was pretty cool.”

According to Business Insider, the home sits on Sydney Harbour’s Point Piper beachfront and was purchased in 2018 for roughly $100 million.

Cannon-Brookes made his wealth through the tech firm Atlassian and is the first Australian owner in NBA history.

Big Money, Big Pressure

Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert both signed max contract extensions with the Jazz this offseason.

Mitchell signed his five-year, $193 million deal with the Jazz soon after free agency opened while Gobert inked his five-year, $205 million deal this past weekend.

While both Mitchell and Gobert will have to wait until next summer to see their extensions kick in, veteran guard Mike Conley is entering the final season of his max contract and had some advice for the Jazz next super-millionaires.

“It’s a lot to soak in,” Conley said. “That’s a lot of money to give anybody.”

In 2016, Conley signed a five-year, $153 million deal with the Memphis Grizzlies. At the time, it was the richest contract in NBA history.

“I understood the responsibility that came with it,” Conley said of his massive deal. “And I know those two guys, having talked to them and seeing the way they’ve come out ready for the season they understand the responsibilities that they have on themselves.”

Though both of the Jazz young stars are set financially for generations to come, Conley said payday doesn’t come without added pressure.

“I told them to prepare for a lot of criticism,” Conley said. “Prepare for all that because it comes with the big payday. But at the same time, it’s the best responsibility you could ever have.”

During the offseason, Conley opted into the final year of his contract with the Jazz that will pay him $34.5 million before hitting free agency next summer.

With the offseason complete, the Jazz will travel to face the Trail Blazers in Wednesday’s season opener. The game tips-off at 8 pm MT and will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.

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