On a day when positive COVID-19 tests dominated the news in the sports world, two of Philadelphia’s teams were directly impacted.

The 76ers, already down Ben Simmons, will now be without Tobias Harris for at least 10 days after it was announced Wednesday that the forward had tested positive for COVID-19. Harris, who is second on the team in scoring (19.8 ppg) and rebounding (9 rpg), is reportedly vaccinated and has been experiencing fatigue and congestion.

While the Flyers didn’t have a player test positive for COVID-19, their opponents tonight, the Pittsburgh Penguins, did. The Penguins will not have captain and arch-nemesis Sidney Crosby, who tested positive on Wednesday, when the rivals face off in Pittsburgh.

COVID-19 reared its ugly head in the NFL as well, as Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley also tested positive for the virus.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

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Off the Dribble

We last left off with Tobias Harris’ status for the Sixers left in the air. We received some clarity on his stint in the NBA’s healthy and safety protocol on Wednesday. Harris tested positive for COVID-19 after being pulled off the court 40 minutes before the Sixers’ Monday game against the Portland Trail Blazers. Vaccinated players are asked to test only when they’ve had a close contact or experience symptoms. Harris had both, as he experienced fatigue and congestion. The Sixers overcame his absence Wednesday and beat the Chicago Bulls, 103-98. Check out Keith Pompey’s take on who shined and who struggled.

Harris is not having an easy time as he fights the virus. “It hit him, for sure,” coach Doc Rivers said. “A lot of guys have had this and they are mad like, ‘What the hell? I’m fine.’ Tobias is not in that category right now.”

Once he does come out on the other side of his illness, Harris will be able to rejoin the team after 10 days in quarantine or two negative tests 24 hours apart.

Next: The Sixers travel to Detroit to play the Pistons tonight at 7 (NBCSP+) in the second half of their back-to-back games.

On the Fly

The Flyers play tonight in Pittsburgh and will get a break as Penguins center Sidney Crosby will miss the game after testing positive for COVID-19.

Crosby and defenseman Brian Dumoulin join a growing list of absences for the Penguins, who will also be without star Evgeni Malkin and Bryan Rust, a 20-goal scorer last season.

The news isn’t all positive for the Flyers, as defenseman Ryan Ellis, who has missed the last five games with an undisclosed injury, will not travel for the team’s two-game road set.

Next: The Flyers play their first Metropolitan Division game of the season against the Penguins tonight at 7 on NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Early Birds

The Eagles made an interesting roster move, with offseason free-agent signing Eric Wilson being waived because they no longer needed him at linebacker. Wilson certainly struggled, but the decision was also made to prioritize the playing time of young players such as Davion Taylor.

On offense, the running game has improved in large part due to a new set of plays being called by Nick Sirianni and also consistently good blocking. The Eagles also have seen DeVonta Smith have ups and downs, but when you look at the numbers, the rookie wide receiver appears to be right where he needs to be — even as he has had the inconsistent Jalen Hurts throwing to him.

Hurts and Sirianni both spoke Wednesday about how the arrest of former Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III has affected the Eagles. Hurts’ former teammate at Alabama faces charges including driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death.

Extra Innings

The Phillies’ National League East rivals officially kicked off baseball’s offseason when the Braves defeated the Astros in the World Series on Tuesday night. With a 10th straight offseason about to be spent trying to get back to the playoffs, the Phillies have a lot of work to do. That officially starts by 5 p.m. Sunday, the deadline for teams to extend qualifying offers to their free agents. The Inquirer’s Matt Breen provides a road map of the offseason from Sunday all the way to the start of spring training and what each of the important dates means to the Phillies.

Of course, the offseason could be quite uneventful if business grinds to a halt once the collective bargaining agreement ends on Dec. 1. Scott Lauber has a primer on the many issues the players and owners must address to strike a new labor deal.

Back to school

  • ‘You can do this!’: Rowan field hockey player Molly Gorczyca went from a stunning cancer diagnosis to NJAC defensive player of the year. But unfortunately, her inspirational story isn’t without tremendous heartache.

  • Super senior: Once a highly ranked recruit, forward Brandon Slater has progressed slowly at Villanova. But having learned and practiced against NBA players in his first three years as a Wildcat, the senior is poised for a starting role in 2021-22.

  • A chip off the old block(s): Villanova women’s basketball star Bella Runyan’s dad was an Eagles legend on offense, but defense is where Bella has carved out her niche.

  • When friends become rivals: Penn State defensive tackles Dvon Ellies and Coziah Izzard became friends in middle school growing up in Maryland. Now, after an injury to starter PJ Mustipher, the two are competing against each other for a starting spot.

  • New Jersey votes no: Voters in Jersey have rejected a ballot measure that would have allowed bettors to wager on in-state colleges such as Rutgers, Seton Hall and Princeton.