Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have been ruled out for Thursday’s matchup with the Bulls in Chicago because of the same contact tracing that forced them to be pulled from the All-Star Game this past Sunday, the team announced on Tuesday.
Simmons is also expected to miss Friday’s matchup with the Washington Wizards in the nation’s capital for the same COVID-19 contact tracing measures.
The two cornerstones of Philly’s success were yanked from the All-Star Game—for which they both earned enough votes to be named starters—after it turned out that they had come into contact with a barber in Atlanta who later tested positive for COVID-19.
The All-Stars were both allowed to go back to Philly to begin quarantining later on that day. The league only had two instances of people involved with the festivities dealing with inconclusive tests or contact tracing throughout the weekend.
Neither Simmons nor Embiid have returned a positive COVID-19 test in the interim, and if that trend continues we should see Embiid back in the lineup against the Wiz on Friday with his Australian teammate joining him in the team for Sunday’s tilt with the San Antonio Spurs back at home in Philly.
The Sixers have been enjoying their most successful season of the Trust The Process era, leading all Eastern Conference teams into the All-Star break with a 24-12 record in the first half. Doc Rivers’ squad is currently in sixth on 888sport’s odds table with intriguingly low +1,300 odds to win the NBA championship.
Simmons has been having another solid year, hounding opposing teams’ top players on defense while also putting up 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.6 dimes per game. In February he decided to be a lot more aggressive offensively and did so to resounding success, pouring in 21.0 points per game in 10 contests last month.
If Simmons has been good, Embiid has been great. He’s finally playing on a consistent basis without nagging injuries and his potential is definitely coming to fruition in the form of an MVP-caliber season.
The Cameroonian has played in 30 of a possible 36 games and is putting up career highs in points per game (30.2), steals per game (1.2), shooting percentage (52), three point percentage (42), and free throw percentage (86).
He is currently second on 888sport’s NBA MVP odds table behind only Lebron James, and considering the +200 NBA odds he’s currently offering, he wouldn’t be a bad shout to go on and become the first Sixer to win the award since Allen ‘The Answer’ Iverson, won it back in 2001.