The Philadelphia 76ers were set to finish a road back-to-back on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder. However, the NBA has now announced that the game has been postponed due to ongoing contact tracing for the Sixers that has put them below the minimum requirement of eight available players.
Philly-OKC postponed, per NBA: pic.twitter.com/TFwKjKzjN1— David Aldridge (@davidaldridgedc) January 17, 2021
Only four Sixers players were included on the latest 5:30pm injury report. Seth Curry and Vincent Poirier were already out due to health and safety protocols, while both Mike Scott and Joel Embiid were out with right knee injuries.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the game was postponed due to contact tracing connected with the Sixers’ game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday (a 106-104 loss on the road), adding shortly after that Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (who played 20 minutes on Saturday) has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Meanwhile, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice has provided a bit of good news for the time being, reporting that the Sixers have no new positive tests at the moment.
It goes without saying that this is a tough blow for the Sixers. They had only just started to get their team back together as players like Shake Milton, Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle had returned from their health and safety protocol absence, following Seth Curry testing positive for COVID-19. This development is also just another reminder of how concerning the state of the NBA is right now, as the league currently has no intention to pause the season. Positive cases are increasing around the league, putting the well-being of players and staff members at risk while forcing seriously undermanned squads to play heavy minutes to complete games.
The Sixers are currently scheduled to play their next game on Wednesday, as they return to Philly to begin a two-game mini series against the Boston Celtics.
We’ll keep you updated with any new information as details emerge.