Joel Embiid has tested positive for COVID-19 and is expected to miss several games, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The star big man was already slated to miss Monday’s game against the New York Knicks as a planned rest day with the Philadelphia 76ers on the first half of a back-to-back, but now, he could be out a fair bit longer. He has already missed one game this season due to lingering knee issues. While a significant number of team staffers had already received their COVID-19 booster shots, players were slated to receive them this week, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Embiid is now expected to miss at least 10 days, but could return sooner if he registers two negative COVID tests in 24 hours, according to Charania.
Embiid is just the latest Sixer to miss time due to the NBA‘s health and safety protocols. Matisse Thybulle, Isaiah Joe and Tobias Harris are all also in the protocols, and Harris has also reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Danny Green is questionable for Monday’s game against the Knicks due to a hamstring injury, and Ben Simmons remains out as he is not mentally ready to resume playing for the 76ers following a tumultuous offseason. That leaves Seth Curry as the only fully healthy 76ers starter entering Monday’s game.
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Philadelphia has thrived despite all of its absences. The 8-2 Sixers have the best record in the Eastern Conference and the NBA’s No. 1-ranked offense through 10 games. They are shooting a league-best 39.4 percent from behind the arc even with so many key players unable to stay on the floor. Curry, Tyrese Maxey and Georges Niang are the only 76ers to play in all 10 games this season. Now, Philadelphia will have to rely on them as well as reserves like Andre Drummond and Furkan Korkmaz to take on bigger roles.
Still, no matter how well their role players have performed, the 76ers are likely to struggle over the next several games due to sheer numbers. The team has seven players listed on the injury report now. That gives them almost no margin for error, especially if they suffer further injuries. Philadelphia has passed every test it has been presented thus far this season, but things are about to get a whole lot tougher.