Philadelphia 76ers

What Joel Embiid’s absence will mean for the Sixers

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Now in the second season where the COVID-19 pandemic has become a real factor for NBA teams, the Sixers have become the unfortunate location of an outbreak. It began when Tobias Harris was pulled shortly before the matchup with the Chicago Bulls on November 3rd. Just 40 minutes before the scheduled tip-off, Tobias was pulled from the court and entered health and safety protocols as a result of a positive test.

Since Tobias has entered protocol, there has been a new member of the Sixers forced to miss time as a result of the protocols before each game. Isaiah Joe was ruled out before the November 4th matchup with the Sixers and Matisse Thybulle entered protocol prior to the following game. Even through the adversity the Sixers have continued to add to their six-game win streak and become a fun team to watch. However, the spread of Covid in the organization has not stopped and it has now reached the franchise superstar, Joel Embiid.

The biggest concern here is obviously the health of Joel Embiid who has taken Covid precautions extremely serious since play resumed from the pandemic. He has one-year-old son and fiancé at home, and even considered not playing in the bubble last year due to the concern of contracting the virus.

Reminder of Protocols:

The NBA’s health and safety protocols have been changed and altered as the evolving COVID situation has taken place. As the rules currently stand, the NBA calls for frequent testing for unvaccinated players while those who are vaccinated are only tested if there is known exposure or symptoms reported. It is important to note that any player who tests positive is required to miss 10 days unless back-to-back negative tests are produced.

There also is a return to play process following quarantine which means it takes at least 12 days since the positive test before the player can fully take the court again. Many of the Sixers staff have begun to take the available COVID booster shots with the players set to begin this process next week. The NBA has begun encouraging players to receive the booster and they informed those who received the J&J vaccine more than two months ago that they will resume testing on December first.

Sixers Outlook Moving Forward:

Outside of the obvious health concerns, the Sixers face a major obstacle in keeping proper lineups on the court. The Sixers are now missing their star center, their number two scoring option, two rotational wing players, in addition to Danny Green having a hamstring injury and Ben Simmons remaining away from the team. The NBA has made it clear that cancelling games is a last resort so the Sixers will be forced to battle through with however many guys are able to suit up.

The Sixers have proved to be able to fight through adversity so far this season and this is another chance to keep making this statement. Guys like Tyrese Maxey, Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, and Georges Niang will be leaned on more heavily and will continue to make their case why they deserve these lengthy minutes. It is tough to focus on basketball with the overwhelming amount of distractions the team has faced this year but they have been able to do just this. Prayers up that there are no more positive tests and that this outbreak does not extend any further.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire

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Lead Sixers Writer for Philly Sports Network and Co-host of the Pick Swap Podcast. Trust the Process

Twitter: @Sean_Barnard1 and @PickSwapPod

Email: sean.barnard17@gmail.com

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