COVID-19, Injuries, and Contact Tracing and How it Affected the 76ers

On Thursday night versus Brooklyn, after the start of the game, the team was informed that Seth Curry returned a positive test. At the time they were told, Seth was on the bench and quickly removed himself and isolated. However, the fall out from a positive test has hurt the 76ers greatly.

Because of contact tracing, the Sixers were forced to quarantine Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, and Vincent Poirier along with Seth Curry. This isn’t counting the injuries the team was already facing, with Furkan Kormaz and Mike Scott being out, and Terrance Ferguson being away from the team for personal reasons. The team was told they had nine available players, and the rule is a team needs to have at least eight.

Then Ben Simmons (knee) and Joel Embiid (back) were ruled out, giving the Sixers seven players and less than the minimum needed to play. For reasons that are still unclear, the team had to dress Mike Scott to meet the minimum number of players, but only actually played with seven. It is worth noting that the 76ers were eventually fined 25,000$ by the league due to Ben Simmons injury, which Doc Rivers said they knew about Thursday in Brooklyn, was not listed on the injury report prior to ruling him out.

Regardless, the game went on. The Sixers were forced to start a line up consisting of Danny Green, Dakota Mathias, Dwight Howard, Tyrese Maxey, and Isiah Joe.

The game went about how you imagined the Sixers lost y 12 after the Nuggets built up a big lead and took their starters out, and overall it was hard to watch.

But, Tyrese Maxey scored 39 points!

Monday’s game came, they were still short-handed but the team got Mike Scott and Joel Embiid back, but Simmons stayed home to continue treatment on his knee. The team went into Atlanta to face the offensive-minded Hawks.

They started out strong, Embiid was scoring at will, but the Hawks would eventually go on a run to close the second quarter, and the gassed, tired, undermanned 76ers couldn’t keep up and never recovered. Losing 112-94.

The losses shouldn’t matter, anytime you have to start a two-way player in a real NBA game you will more than likely lose. But there were some positives to take away. Tyrese Maxey looks like he will most definitely find a place in this league, Isiah Joe played well and saw his shot start to fall, and guys like Dakota Mathais and Paul Reed were able to get extended NBA playing time, which may have never come under normal circumstances.

Because of the two losses and a loss at Brooklyn the 76ers fell to 7-4 and third in the East. They take on a short-handed Miami heat team tonight, with a good possibility of Ben Simmons coming back. The Heat will be without Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Avery Bradley, Goran Dragic, and more. If the game is played the team should be able to steal a win back , and try to get started in the right direction. They play the Heat again on Thursday, after which Doc Rivers said the team hopes they will be able to get the players held out for health and safety protocols back for the weekend, excluding Seth.

It was a wild and weird ride these past few days. Between a positive test, contact tracing, and playing with seven players, it was certainly unprecedented circumstances. Hopefully, this will be the last time the team has to deal with something like this for the rest of the season.

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