Monday’s news could end up being a major body blow for the 76ers.
Joel Embiid became the fourth Sixers player placed into the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Embiid was already scheduled to miss Monday night’s game against the New York Knicks at the Wells Fargo Center for a planned rest. However, the four-time All-Star could end up missing several more games in protocols.
Embiid returned a positive test for COVID-19 Monday morning, a source confirmed.
A vaccinated player only has to take a test if they are symptomatic or were in close contact with someone who has tested positive. The player can typically return after a 10-day quarantine or following two negative tests 24 hours apart.
The Sixers (8-2) will be without five members of their 15-man roster against the Knicks (6-4).
Ben Simmons is mentally not ready to play. Tobias Harris was placed in protocols on Nov. 1 and Isaiah Joe joined him on Thursday. Joe’s diagnosis 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.
Matisse Thybulle, whose 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 against the Chicago Bulls.
Then on Monday, the Sixers learned that Embiid had to be placed in protocols.
Losing Embiid for an extended amount of time could hurt the Sixers, who might also be without Danny Green as he was listed as questionable for Monday night’s game. Green participated in the morning shootaround.
Embiid is averaging 21.4 points, 9.4 rebounds, a career-high 4.0 assists and 1.4 blocks. Embiid finished with 30 points and 15 rebounds in Saturday’s road victory over the Bulls.
Following Monday’s game, the Sixers will entertain the defending NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. Then they’ll host the Toronto Raptors on Thursday before embarking on a six-game road trip with stops at the Indiana Pacers (Sunday), Utah Jazz (Nov. 16), Denver Nuggets (Nov. 18), Portland Trail Blazers (Nov. 20), Sacramento Kings (Nov. 22) and Golden State Warriors (Nov. 24).
Embiid won’t be eligible to play before the Blazers game, if he’s out for the Covid-19 protocol minimum of 10 days.