The Philadelphia 76ers are going to be depleted for a while. They only had the minimum of eight active players for their should-have-been-cancelled game against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, with Mike Scott technically available but unable to play as he was still recovering from a knee injury. Ben Simmons (left knee swelling) and Joel Embiid (back tightness) were both out as well.
Embiid will be listed as probable for the Sixers’ road game on Monday against the Hawks, but Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Simmons hasn’t travelled to Atlanta and will miss the game to undergo treatment for his knee.
“Ben was in the Brooklyn game — he had some knee stiffness, and so we almost, probably, knew after the game that he wouldn’t play tonight,” Doc Rivers said before the Sixers’ game against the Nuggets. Hopefully for Philly and Simmons, this knee issue is nothing serious and the team is simply taking a cautious, preventative approach with bringing him back to games.
Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice has provided a positive update, noting that Simmons is responding well to treatment and Scott is being upgraded to probable.
Sixers injury updates:— Kyle Neubeck (@KyleNeubeck) January 10, 2021
Ben Simmons, who will be listed out with swelling in his left knee, is not playing as previously reported but team says he's responding well to treatment.
Mike Scott is being upgraded to probable and is expected to return barring unexpected setback
Meanwhile, Seth Curry is out after testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, while Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle and Vincent Poirier will be going through a quarantine period due to health and safety protocols. Even if Embiid is back against the Hawks and Simmons returns later in the week, the Sixers are going to be missing several key players over the next week as they complete their time in quarantine.
Rivers expressed before the Sixers’ game against the Nuggets that he didn’t think they should play. He said that he’s concerned about COVID, but his bigger concern is the health of those still playing, with such a small rotation and everyone having to play more minutes.
It’s also now been confirmed that today’s game between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics has been postponed, as the Heat don’t have enough players due to contract tracing. The Sixers are supposed to have two home games against the Heat this week on Tuesday and Thursday, so we’ll keep you updated on this shaky situation. Depending on how many players the Heat have to keep out due to health and safety protocols, there could be a chance that they still won’t have enough players for their upcoming games against the Sixers.
The amount of players testing positive and being ruled out of games due to contact tracing is only going up at the moment. It’s becoming increasingly concerning, due to both the well-being of the players and staff members directly affected, and for teams having to play games with so few players. Yet, for now at least, the NBA still has no plans to pause the season, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported.