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After viral video of ill Fred Hoiberg, it's not the coronavirus

Hoiberg coached in the Big Ten tournament despite feeling under the weather.
Fred Hoiberg

A viral video of Nebraska Cornhuskers men's basketball coach Fred Hoiberg battling an illness during a Big Ten tournament game Wednesday sparked fears of the novel coronavirus, but it turns out that Hoiberg was battling the flu. 

Hoiberg, who played for the Timberwolves 2003-05 and later was part of the team's front office, was shown on Big Ten Network's video feed with his head-in-hand and an assistant coach next to him appearing to be using hand sanitizer. 

With under four minutes left in the game, Hoiberg left the court and was taken to a local hospital. The team announced hours later that Hoiberg was diagnosed with influenza A. 

The rest of the Nebraska team was held under quarantine in their locker room until Hoiberg was cleared of COVID-19, at which point they boarded a bus that took them to their hotel. 

"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 wrote in a statement Thursday morning.


"I was feeling under the weather on Wednesday and we felt the right thing to do was to get checked by a tournament doctor prior to our game in the Big Ten Tournament against Indiana. Once that medical official cleared me, I made a decision to coach my team." 

Hoiberg added that the novel coronavirus pandemic  "is a scary time for all of us." 

In this case, it wasn't COVID-19 for Hoiberg, but what if it had been? It's a critical point in the messaging from health officials all over the world: stay home if you feel sick. 

The Big Ten tournament is in Indianapolis, Indiana, where the Minnesota Gophers defeated Northwestern earlier Wednesday. 

Minnesota is set to play Iowa Thursday around 2:30 p.m., but fans will not be permitted inside the arena for the rest of the conference tournament. 

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