The NBA has suspended its season after a player preliminarily tested positive for coronavirus, stunning fans and players who heard the plan at stadiums Wednesday night, and adding to a list of daily events and activities altered by the virus’ spread nationwide.

Utah Jazz all-star center Rudy Gobert tested positive, according to ESPN and other media outlets, shortly before his team’s game Wednesday night against the host Oklahoma City Thunder.

The NBA postponed that game right before tip-off after it learned the diagnosis, surprising thousands of fans already in their seats at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Not long afterward, the league announced it would suspend the season “until further notice” after the night’s slate of games around the country.

“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the NBA, which announced a Jazz player had tested positive but didn’t identify him, said in a statement.

The affected player was not in the arena, the league said. The player is in the care of health officials in Oklahoma City, according to the Jazz, which also did not name the player.

Four other NBA games were played Wednesday night — but one other, a tilt between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings in California, was called off because a referee assigned to work the game had previously worked a Jazz game, the NBA said.

The NBA’s suspension is an outlier for professional sports in the United States, a country more used to seeing leagues stop or shrink seasons because of labor issues or, more rarely, war.

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many US sports organisations to consider adjustments, including canceling events and holding games without fans.

The National Hockey League said Wednesday night it is still evaluating the options and will have an update on Thursday.