CHICAGO — Unfortunately for the 76ers, Matisse Thybulle has joined the club.
On Friday, Thybulle became the third Sixers player placed into the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. As a result, the forward did not play in Saturday’s game against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center.
Tobias Harris was placed in protocols on Monday and Isaiah Joe joined him on Thursday. Joe’s verdict prompted the entire team to get tested for the virus before Thursday’s game against the Detroit Pistons at Little Caesars Arena. At the time, everyone received a negative test.
Thybulle, who’s locker is next to Joe’s, was placed in protocols one day later for contact tracing. The two also sat next to each other on the bench during Wednesday’s home game versus the Bulls.
“We knew it was coming,” coach Doc Rivers said of Thybulle having to contact trace. “We thought it would come, and we didn’t think it should come, honestly. But it is what it is.”
A player who tests positive can typically return after a 10-day quarantine or following two negative tests 24 hours apart.
The Sixers were undermanned for Saturday night’s game.
Ben Simmons (mentally not ready to play) and Danny Green (left hamstring tightness) joined Thybulle, Joe, and Harris as members of the team’s 15-man roster unavailable for the game.
“I thought this one could had been avoided,” Rivers said of Thybulle being placed in protocols. “I’m not pleased with it. But it is what it is. So we’ve got to deal with the repercussions.
“It’s part of like what I tell our guys all the time even with protests or anything, like you can do all of that. But there’s repercussions to it. So we are paying that tonight.”
Despite being a guard, Thybulle started the past two games at power forward in place of Harris. He’s averaging 5.1 points, a league seventh-best 2.3 steals and 10th-best 1.7 blocks.