Doc Rivers confirmed that Ben Simmons used a car service to return to the Philadelphia area following Thursday night’s loss to Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.
The 76ers coach added the story wasn’t reported accurately.
The squad remained in New York following the game to quarantine in a hotel following that night’s game due to Seth Curry testing positive for COVID-19. As a result, the Sixers stayed to conduct contact tracing and take two tests before heading home at 11 p.m.
The Yahoo Sports report said Simmons got a driver and went back to the Philly-area without the Sixers’ knowledge, only to return when the team discovered he didn’t stay in New York.
“Obviously, that night we were all in disarray,” Rivers said before Tuesday’s home game against the Miami Heat. “A bunch of guys were ordering cars because we all did think we could go back home.”
Rivers called Simmons while the two-time All-Star was on his way home. He told Simmons he couldn’t go home because of the NBA protocol.
“He just turned around and came back,” the coach said. “So you know I don’t read [media reports], but I heard. The way it sounded was like it was some kind of bad thing. It wasn’t. It was just the way it was.”
The coach said at the time no one knew they had to stay in New York. Rivers said he even was ordering a car himself. The Sixers thought they could leave and get tested the next day in the Philadelphia area.
“Then we were told we could not do that,” Rivers said. “So after that game, it was a lot of different moving parts going on at the same time.”
Furkan Korkmaz has been progressing well during rehabilitation and individual workouts while being sidelined with a left groin strain, according to the team.
The reserve swingman missed his ninth straight game Tuesday night since suffering the injury against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 27. His status will be updated ahead of this weekend’s back-to-back road games.
The Sixers face the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday before taking on the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.