Rudy Gobert became the first player known to have tested positive for the coronavirus back in March, forcing the NBA into a months-long hiatus that is slated to end in July. Part of the reason that the NBA feels comfortable returning to action is the typically mild symptoms younger, healthy people encounter as well as the generally short period in which the disease tends to last in a person's system.
COVID-19 affects most patients for a matter of weeks. However, the long-term effects of the disease are not yet fully known. Gobert is currently dealing with one of them. As he told the French sports media outlet L'equipe (as translated by HoopsHype), he is still not fully recovered from the virus despite being infected three months ago. His sense of smell has not fully returned.
"The taste has returned, but the smell is still not 100%. I can smell the smells, but not from afar. I spoke to specialists, who told me that it could take up to a year," Gobert said.
Fortunately, a sense of smell is not exactly needed on the basketball court. Gobert has given no indication that he plans to skip the resumed season at Disney, nor is there any reason to believe that his compromised sense of smell might pose a risk to other players. Gobert and Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell both tested negative for the virus in late March.
But as players weigh the pros and cons of taking the court in Orlando, Gobert's situation may weigh heavily on their minds. Even if they are unlikely to experience serious symptoms given their health and age, players can't be certain what the virus will do to them over the long-term. None of us can be, and they would be completely justified in deciding not to take the risk.