Tobias Harris walked around the arena before the 76ers’ game against the Portland Trail Blazers and even went through his pregame routine. Moments later, the Sixers shared unexpected news: Harris would miss the game as he entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols. The Sixers expect to know more about Harris’ status in the next 24 hours.

Harris, who is vaccinated, came in close contact with someone who might have tested positive for COVID-19, a source told The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. If Harris did indeed test positive, he could miss at least 10 days. Furkan Korkmaz started in Harris’ place Monday, and the Sixers responded with a 113-103 victory.

Nearly two years since COVID-19 entered our lives, we still don’t have a much better handle on the virus. And while the NBA has protocols in place and was able to stop Harris before he entered a game, this is more proof that even the best-laid plans are no match for this pandemic.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

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Early Birds

The Eagles offense looked pretty good Sunday, overpowering the Lions with the running game even while missing Miles Sanders. Run-heavy play calling led to fewer throws from Jalen Hurts, and that helped take some pressure off the quarterback in his 12th start. But is this offense here to stay?

That’s the topic beat writer Jeff McLane and columnist Mike Sielski explored, and it goes far beyond coach Nick Sirianni. We know that while owner Jeffrey Lurie likes to win, he prefers for the offense to have a pass-first mindset. So to envision Hurts here long-term is to imagine him improving his accuracy and feel for running an NFL offense. And while the Eagles can still win games with Hurts, the long-term answer still likely will lead to Lurie and GM Howie Roseman trying to find a new quarterback to fit their style.

For the passing game in the short term, the Eagles did shed some light on the ankle injury of wide receiver Jalen Reagor, who was carted off against the Lions, but does not appear to be seriously injured.

Next: Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon meets with the media today after the defense nearly shut out the Lions.

Off the Dribble

The 76ers are taking their time with Joel Embiid. The prized center is set to carry a heavy load for his team this season, especially with Ben Simmons’ return still up in the air. With that in mind, the Sixers have prioritized rest for Embiid. He sat out much of the preseason and did not play against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday for planned rest, which serves as an indication of how coach Doc Rivers intends to use Embiid.

The Sixers’ slow roll with Embiid is warranted. He played 51 games each of the last two seasons and takes hard spills on the court often. In fact, Embiid already has knee soreness after bumping knees with a member of the New Orleans Pelicans, so expect the Sixers to continue to be careful with him this season and beyond. And Andre Drummond filled in capably in the Sixers’ win Monday.

Next: The Sixers close their four-game homestand with a 7 p.m. Wednesday game against the Chicago Bulls at the Wells Fargo Center.

On the Fly

Power-play specialist. Iron man. Comedian.

These are just some of the titles often assigned to Flyers defenseman Keith Yandle. Another, as Giana Han learned, is NHL’s best teammate. That is because former teammates such as Shane Doan swear by Yandle’s impact on a locker room.

Whether it is lightening the mood with his humor, being a mentor for younger players, or being there for support in hard times, Yandle has earned a reputation as a favorite around the league. Doan went as far as to say “he might be everyone’s favorite teammate they’ve ever had.”

While Yandle will be in the lineup against his old team, the Coyotes, tonight, another Flyers defenseman will not. Ryan Ellis will miss his fifth straight game with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for the road games that follow in Pittsburgh and Washington.

Next: The Flyers host the Arizona Coyotes tonight at 7 (NBC Sports Philadelphia).

Fleet Street

He’s ba-aack. On the day after Halloween, it was announced that Christian Pulisic, the U.S. men’s national team player who has probably been haunted more by injuries than anyone else on the current USMNT roster, is returning to club play with Chelsea. Of course, that doesn’t guarantee the winger cursed with hamstring, muscle, and now ankle issues will appear for the coming Concacaf rivalry game against Mexico in World Cup qualifying action, but there’s hope.

Next: The NWSL playoffs kick off on Nov. 7. Each round could feature Carli Lloyd’s final professional game, since the format for the playoffs is single-elimination. No second chances.

Worth a look

  • Flyer in fashion and the classroom: When the Flyers’ James van Riemsdyk completed Harvard’s Crossover Into Business program, he made sure to buy a sweatshirt. And he thanked his lucky stars the school didn’t ask for a transcript.

  • The Sixers go vintage: The Sixers released their 2021-22 Nike NBA City Edition jerseys Monday and dived back into their rich history to do so. That included honoring the Spectrum and posing players in photos that gave off serious ‘80s vibes.