The streaking 76ers will be without their second-best player for an extended period of time.
Tobias Harris tested positive for COVID-19 and could be sidelined at least 10 days, according to sources. The power forward, who is vaccinated, received a positive PCR test result on Tuesday night.
That came after receiving earlier positive rapid tests.
A vaccinated player only has to take a PCR test if they are symptomatic or were in close contact with someone who has tested positive. Harris was both. He has been experiencing fatigue and congestion.
“He’s doing OK, but not great, honestly,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said before Wednesday’s game against the Chicago Bulls at the Wells Fargo Center. “That’s the most I’m gonna say about it. But it hit him, for sure. 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.”
A vaccinated player can typically return after 10 day quarantine or following two negative tests 24 hours apart. The problem is Harris is ill and experiencing symptoms. It will take time for the virus to work through his system.
The Sixers will be without Harris and Danny Green (left hamstring tightness) Wednesday against the 6-1 Chicago Bulls at the Wells Fargo Center. The team will follow Wednesday’s matchup with a road contest against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.
After playing back-to-back games, the Sixers will face the Bulls again in Chicago on Saturday. Then they’ll have back-to-back home games against the New York Knicks on Monday and Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday before hosting the Toronto Raptors on Nov. 11.
Harris is averaging 19.8 points and a team-leading 4.2 assists. The Sixers run a lot of their half-court sets through him as a point forward.
He was pulled from Monday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers and placed in the NBA COVID-19 health and safety protocols just 40 minutes before tip off.
The Sixers can only hope that Harris doesn’t have any lingering effects upon his return. Thevaccine does usually reduce symptoms and length of illness.
Last season, Seth Curry had a tough time regaining his form following a 14-day hiatus in January after clearing the COVID-19 protocols. He contracted the illness before vaccines were widely available.