Since the coronavirus pandemic began and Utah Jazz player Rudy Gobert jokingly touched the microphones at a news conference back in March 2020, the airborne virus has impacted the league. Clearly, it is not finished yet. The latest NBA player affected is Joel Embiid, currently leading the Sixers to a torrid start of the season, but now forced by a positive COVID-19 test to extend his planned rest day off until he can test negative twice or complete the league’s 10-day protocol. Embiid sat out Monday night as the 76ers fell to the New York Knicks, 103-96.

It’s just another example of how many things are beyond the control of even the strongest athletes. All anyone can do is react to difficult circumstances and attempt to overcome. For example, is Jalen Hurts in the right timeline, or does he need more time to get the Eagles to a winning record?

Another Philadelphia team proving to be resilient is the Flyers, who have spent the entire season thus far without a top player, Kevin Hayes. Check out who has stepped up, and all our latest stories on Philly sports.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

The truth on Hurts — give us your take on whether the Eagles have the right quarterback to take the team forward: sports.daily@inquirer.com

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Early Birds

While opposing quarterbacks continue to carve up the Eagles defense, the team has a quarterback conundrum.

Is Jalen Hurts the quarterback going into the future? It remains to be seen, but for the time being, the Eagles should make the most of giving him a chance. They can do this by continuing with a game plan that suits his strengths. Right now, it’s too early to tell where Hurts will end up, but at least coach Nick Sirianni’s play-calling seems to have improved.

Hurts’ top target, rookie DeVonta Smith, came off an emotional week to perform well against the Chargers. His postgame in front of the media featured Smith opening up about his feelings about Henry Ruggs. While some of the comments drew criticism, Smith’s whole message should be heard.

Extra Innings

Bryce Harper was named Monday as a finalist for the National League’s MVP Award and Zack Wheeler is a finalist for the Cy Young, giving the Phillies a chance to sweep baseball’s two most prominent awards for the first time since 1980 when Mike Schmidt (MVP) and Steve Carlton (Cy Young) were recognized. Harper is joined by Washington’s Juan Soto and San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. as finalists for the MVP, which will be awarded on Nov. 18. The Cy Young winner will be announced on Nov. 17, and the other two finalists are Max Scherzer of the Dodgers and the Brewers’ Corbin Burnes.

Off the Dribble

The Sixers can never go too long without an update on the Ben Simmons front. The latest news comes from ESPN, which reported that Simmons met with team doctors to discuss his mental health after previously refusing to do so. Simmons has yet to play for the Sixers this season after asking for a trade. He told the team he was not mentally ready to play and maintains that stance.

The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey confirmed the ESPN report, which emerged after the Sixers resumed fining Simmons. The Sixers guard was fined $360,000 for failing to play against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday and was previously penalized for close to $2 million after missing training camp and multiple practices and meetings.

Next: The Sixers continue to slug through a tough part of the schedule as they play against the defending-champion Milwaukee Bucks at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Wells Fargo Center.

On the Fly

Flyers stars Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Carter Hart are all off to impressive starts, but one key factor in the team’s 6-2-2 start has been the play of center Derick Brassard.

The well-traveled 34-year-old, who was brought in to play a bottom-six role, has far exceeded expectations as the temporary second-line center while filling in for the injured Kevin Hayes. Brassard has racked up seven points, is a plus-seven in 10 games this season, and has helped anchor a second line that has accounted for nine five-on-five goals this season, tied for the second-highest total in the league.

Next: Former Flyer Wayne Simmonds and the Toronto Maple Leafs are at the Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night to play the Flyers at 7:30 (NBCSP).

Fleet Street

Colorado might not be the soccer squad full of stars that MLS administrators wish would be in the primo time slot of the playoffs over Thanksgiving break, but the Rapids, guided by the steady hand of Robin Fraser, won the Western Conference and have earned their spot. Check out the schedule here.

The Union, under the leadership of Jim Curtin, are also looking to make noise in the MLS playoffs, as well as elsewhere. While no current Union players have been called up for the United States men’s national team and its coming World Cup qualifying games, there are three Union players taking on world soccer powers Brazil, Mexico, and Colombia at a new under-20 tournament in Mexico.

Worth a look

One veteran Cat: Jermaine Samuels is back for a fifth year with No. 4 Villanova, which starts its season this afternoon.

The pull of Hawk Hill: One player planned to leave St. Joseph’s, but then stayed. Another has been on the hill all along.