The Philadelphia 76ers have already gone through their own COVID scenarios earlier in the season in January when guard Seth Curry tested positive for the virus on Jan. 7. He then had to miss two weeks and a slew of other Sixers were in the NBA’s contact tracing protocols.
On Sunday, they received another scare in Atlanta as they found out that Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were involved in those contact tracing protocols due to them being in close contact with a barber who tested positive before they went to Atlanta. They were then ruled out for the All-Star game and that was that.
The two then were sent back to Philadelphia and they continued to test negative for the virus.
“Ive talked to both of them,” said coach Doc Rivers. “So far, so good as far as their testing. They feel great. They both obviously wanted to play. Were disappointed, but their biggest concern was being able to play the first two games when we get back. We dont know the answer to that yet and thats going to be really important for us. It would be tough to start the second half of the year and not have either one.”
All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are no longer in Atlanta, league sources say, having both traveled back to Philadelphia earlier today via private planes after registering negative tests for COVID-19.
Embiid and Simmons also both came to Atlanta on separate private planes.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) March 8, 2021
The important part is that the two of them are continuing to test negative and that they are going to be able to play soon as long as the two of them continue that trend.
“That’s a relief,” said Rivers. “Now we need some more good news. It’s five days and we’re in the clear, but anything longer, I think they’ll miss some games.”
The Sixers don’t play again until Thursday when they take on the Chicago Bulls on the road so as long as they continue to test negative over that span, they should be set to go. Rivers explained that it takes roughly five days due to the tracing.
“I don’t know,” he finished. “I’m thinking Saturday, but that’s what I’m hoping. By my count, it started Saturday.”
Philadelphia is sitting at the 1 seed in the East, but they obviously will need Embiid and Simmons to be able to play and be healthy for the stretch run.
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