Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons Won’t Play In All-Star Game Due To Contact Tracing

10:53am: Embiid and Simmons have been ruled out of tonight’s game, a source tells Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Their pre-game session with the media has been canceled, tweets Steve Popper of Newsday.

10:48am: The barber has returned a second positive test, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The final decision will be up to the NBA, but it appears likely that Embiid and Simmons will be held out of tonight’s game.

10:13am: Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons may be forced to miss tonight’s All-Star Game because of contact tracing, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Both players were exposed to a person who likely has COVID-19 before they arrived in Atlanta, sources tell Charania.

The exposure involves the players’ personal barber, who tested positive for the virus and will take another test, Charania adds (via Twitter). Embiid and Simmons flew to Atlanta on private planes and had no contact with other players or anyone else in the bubble atmosphere surrounding the game.

The Sixers teammates will do media sessions from their rooms prior to the game, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). A decision on whether they will play will be made once the barber’s condition is more certain.

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers, who will coach Team Durant, confirms the reports and tells Marc Stein of The New York Times that “it’s not looking great” for Embiid and Simmons to participate (Twitter link). Both players are currently isolated in their hotel rooms. Rivers is waiting for guidance from the league and isn’t sure if Embiid and Simmons will have to remain in Atlanta if they are not permitted to play, adds Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link).

“I would feel more for them if they had COVID,” Rivers said. “They get to make the team still, and they’re on the team … But you want to play and them being in a jersey.” (Twitter link from Mark Medina of USA Today)

Embiid is a member of Team Durant, while Simmons was drafted by Team LeBron, so both teams will have 11 players if the two 76ers stars can’t participate.

Both players are having exceptional seasons for the Sixers, who lead the East with a 20-12 record. Embiid is among the mid-season favorites for MVP, averaging 30.2 points, 11.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks through 30 games. Simmons averages 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists per night and is one of the league’s best perimeter defenders.

It’s not clear how the potential exposure to the virus will affect their availability once the season resumes. Philadelphia doesn’t play again until Thursday night, and both players may be required to quarantine if the barber’s positive test is confirmed.

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18 thoughts on “Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons Won’t Play In All-Star Game Due To Contact Tracing

  1. As a Sixers fan, this is good news. Assuming they don’t test positive. They should be cleared by the time the 2nd half of the season gets underway and now don’t have to risk injury in an utterly pointless game that Adam Silver was too greedy to cancel in the first place.

    • Never mind, their quarantine will likely cause them to miss 2-3 games. I’ll just double down on my “F**k Adam Silver” sentiment

      • afsooner02

        They got it at a philly barber…..the ASG really doesn’t come into play here since it’s a place they likely go to all the time and would have gotten it anyways. “It”meaning contact tracing.

  2. afsooner02

    Just let trae young play….assuming he’s still in Atlanta over the break. Joke game anyway, not like he needs prep time.

  3. phenomenalajs

    Will they be replaced? I agree with a commenter below that local players would be the ones to step in – Trae Young and John Collins, if in town.

    • jimmyduz0523

      omggg the love for Trae gotta stop people… What the hell is the big deal with Trae…. Man… Smh.

  4. nentwigs

    TOO BAD for Embiid and Simmons…
    Especially since there WILL be a……
    DOC on the sidelines !!

  5. DeathbyDeathwest

    Weird. It’s almost as if all the criticism of trying to put on the game was fair and came to fruition.

    But while we’re at it, I would have loved to see the Rising Stars – that game is more interesting to me than the ASG most years..

  6. Otogar

    Oh, no! Now who is going to replace Ben Simmons in the 3P shooting contest??

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    Stay healthy this thing is not over yet. Anyone before coming in contact with an athlete should be tested. Or teams should have their own people to go to for services. While season is on. Seems like they broke protocol to me. This thing just never ends. Wear a mask still.

    • youngTank15

      They have over a 99% chance of surviving with almost no symptoms. It’s ridiculous players in sports have to quarantine with no symptoms.

      • El Don

        @youngTank15… Well said, Sir!
        First time in history that we are quarantining healthy people, right?
        By definition a quarantine is for someone who is sick, healthy people with no virus mustn’t ever quarantine!

        • Buckman

          Your incorrect definition of quarantine makes for an erroneous conclusion. A recent study of over 700 college and pro athletes that were infected with covid found that 6-7 had inflammation around the heart which can cause damage leading to such health events like heart attacks later in life. No one is safe from possible debilitating effects of a covid infection. Acting like you or other people are is about as willfully ignorant as you can get.

          • youngTank15

            That’s like what 1%. So can pneumonia have lasting effects. The point is this is a complete overreaction, some would say agenda drive. These measures are completely unnecessary and the censorship around this especially of doctors is unacceptable.

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