Nebraska head coach Fred Hoiberg left his team’s Big Ten Tournament game against Indiana early due to illness Wednesday night. Hoiberg appeared physically ill on the bench in the second half, wiping sweat off his forehead and leaning over in his chair in pain.
With the coronavirus infecting the sports world more and more each day, worry arose that the COVID-19 virus had found its way into college basketball’s inner circle. If Hoiberg tested positive for the coronavirus, Nebraska players surely contracted the disease and March Madness would be in peril.
Thankfully, Hoiberg tested negative for the coronavirus on Thursday morning, according to Nebraska athletic department officials. Hoiberg did test positive for Influenza A, a form of the flu.
Hoiberg was cleared by a medical official to coach Wednesday
In a statement released on Twitter, Hoiberg said he was checked by a tournament doctor after feeling sick Wednesday. The doctor cleared him to coach and he felt well enough to do so. Hoiberg was mostly fine in the first half, but his symptoms got worse as the game progressed. He decided to leave the bench late in the second half and was taken immediately to the hospital.
College basketball fans and personalities were quick to jump on Hoiberg for choosing to coach Wednesday. The NCAA has been taking extreme precautions to keep players, coaches, and fans safe from the spreading coronavirus. One positive case in the NCAA could lead to a cancelation of the entire NCAA Tournament.
“Please let it be known that I would never do anything that would put my team, family or anyone else in harm’s way,” Hoiberg said in his Twitter statement. Obviously, he was feeling well enough to coach and the doctors agreed.
Nebraska players were quarantined after the game
Following Nebraska’s loss to Indiana in the Big Ten Tournament, the team was told not to leave Bankers Life Fieldhouse, according to Andy Katz. The media wasn’t allowed near the team after the game.
Nebraska players were brought their food outside the locker room. Neither team’s players were made available for postgame press conferences.
Nebraska and Indiana went to their locker rooms after the game without shaking hands. Indiana rushed to their bus and left the arena after leaving the court. Nebraska, however, was held in the locker room for almost two hours before being released. No one on either team has been confirmed to have the flu or the coronavirus.
The coronavirus has already forced its way into the NBA
Earlier on Wednesday, the NBA confirmed a case of the coronavirus had reached the Utah Jazz. Rudy Gobert tested positive for the COVID-19 virus prior to the team’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Soon after the news broke, the NBA announced the 2020 season would be suspended.
On Thursday morning, Donovan Mitchell was also confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus. It is unknown how many players the virus has reached or how long the NBA plans to stay suspended.
There are still no confirmed cases of the coronavirus in NCAA coaches or players, and the NCAA Tournament is still scheduled to happen. If the COVID-19 virus does reach NCAA basketball, though, March Madness will most likely be in trouble.