What no one wanted to happen happened. Both of the Philadelphia 76ers’ all stars, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, are unlikely to play in Sunday night’s NBA All Star Game because of contract tracing from exposure to a likely positive COVID-19 test. According to ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, Embiid and Simmon’s personal barbers were the ones who tested positive. The barbers are waiting for another test result. The exposure occurred before the two players arrived in Atlanta. According to The Athletic, both players have not been in contact with other people in Atlanta due to league’s quarantine.
UPDATE: Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have officially been ruled out of the All Star Game due to contact tracing. There are no plans to replace Embiid and Simmons, as of 12:00 P.M. E.S.T.
76ers and head coach Doc Rivers, who is also coaching Team Durant, said Sunday morning, “We’re still waiting for the NBA to tell us what the next steps are,” per the New York Times‘ Marc Stein, but Rivers said the chance of them playing is “not looking great.”
For this weekend, the NBA and NBA Players Association both made additional measures to the current health and safety protocols. Both Embiid and Simmons traveled via private transportation to Atlanta and have continued to get tested daily.
Simmons is averaging 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 7.6 assists per game and is set to play on Team LeBron this Sunday night. Embiid has emerged as one of the front-runners for the MVP. He is averaging 30.2 points and 11.6 rebounds per game on 52.1% from the field. He is set to play on Team Durant on Sunday.
Tip off for the All-Star Game is set for 8:00 P.M. E.S.T.