Well, this is a surprise. After the initial news of Seth Curry testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday, it was later reported that the Philadelphia 76ers would miss multiple players due to contact tracing and a member of the team’s training staff tested positive as well. Yesterday, we found out that seven Sixers players were listed as questionable to play in Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets due to health and safety protocols.
Now, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski has reported that the game will be going ahead after all.
The Sixers are expected to have nine eligible players today, including three cleared from protocol: Joel Embiid, Danny Green and Paul Reed, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/4TBl3xJXaq— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 9, 2021
As Wojnarowski noted, three players were cleared from health and safety protocols, including Joel Embiid.
Shams Charania confirmed that several others are out and will go into quarantine.
76ers’ Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle and Vincent Poirier are each out today vs. Denver due to health and safety protocols and will receive quarantine period, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 9, 2021
While Embiid is eligible after clearing protocol, this obviously doesn’t guarantee he is playing. However, given how seriously shorthanded the Sixers will be and Embiid’s importance to the team, especially in a matchup against Nikola Jokic (who’s been on a tear to start the season), it goes without saying that they’ll need him to suit up if they want any real chance to win.
The Sixers only have nine players who are available to play:
- Ben Simmons
- Tyrese Maxey
- Danny Green
- Joel Embiid
- Dwight Howard
- Tony Bradley
- Isaiah Joe
- Dakota Mathias
- Paul Reed
With the Sixers having such limited options and three of their nine players being centers (or four bigs in total, if you include Reed), a potential starting lineup could be Simmons, Maxey, Mathias, Green and Embiid.
This game is going to be a weird one, to say the least. With the Sixers’ situation and the Nuggets having played the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday (who just had a player test positive and have two more players out for contact tracing), it’s startling that this game is going ahead at all.
As always, though, we’ll keep you covered here at LB with the typical game threads, post-game coverage, and live tweeting through the game at @Liberty_Ballers.
Wojnarowski has reported that some of the Sixers’ players are (understandably) unsure about playing in today’s game. For now, the game is still going ahead. We’ll keep you updated in case there are any changes.
There are still Philadelphia players unsure about playing vs. Denver today, sources tell ESPN. The league mandates a team must play if it has eight eligible players; Philly technically has nine. Sixers are remaining in contact with league office with tip time at 3 PM.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 9, 2021
Another update: The Sixers will be listing Embiid as out with back tightness, and Simmons as out with left knee swelling. Mike Scott, who has already been out over the last four games with a left knee injury, has been upgraded to available, which takes the Sixers to the minimum requirement of eight active players.
However, Doc Rivers said in his pregame call with media that Scott won’t be playing. “I can tell you now there’s no way I’m going to play him,” Rivers said. “I just don’t think he should play.” So, for a game that clearly shouldn’t be going ahead, this leaves the Sixers with a seven-man rotation of: Tyrese Maxey, Danny Green, Dakota Mathias, Isaiah Joe, Dwight Howard, Paul Reed, and Tony Bradley.