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Celtics, 76ers won’t confirm they’re fully vaccinated ahead of potential playoff matchup vs. Toronto Raptors

Celtics Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams III, Al Horford, Jaylen Brown

Boston - January 25: In the fourth quarter as the Celtics lead by as many as 60 points, the starters were all on the bench, and here (left to right) Jayson Tatum, Robert Williams III, Al Horford and Jaylen Brown all celebrated a three pointer by teammate Payton Pritchard (not pictured). The Boston Celtics hosted the Sacramento Kings in a regular season NBA basketball game at the TD Garden in Boston on Jan. 25, 2022. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Boston Globe via Getty Images

Kyrie Irving is now eligible to play Brooklyn Nets home games.

But the NBA’s coronavirus-vaccine drama continues.

Unvaccinated players still can’t travel to Canada to play the Raptors in Toronto. Which could be a complication for the Celtics or 76ers, who – along with the Heat and Bucks – are the Raptors’ most-likely first-round opponents.

Tim Bontemps of ESPN:

When asked directly within the past 24 hours if their teams are fully vaccinated, both the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers declined to comment to ESPN
The Heat and Bucks confirmed to ESPN that their teams are fully vaccinated, so they would have no issues in Toronto.

Boston played in Toronto on Monday. Four Celtics missed the game:

  • Jayson Tatum (“Injury/Illness - Right Patella; Tendinopathy”)
  • Robert Williams III (“Injury/Illness - Left Knee; Lateral Meniscal Tear”)
  • Jaylen Brown (“Injury/Illness - Right Knee; Tendinopathy”)
  • Al Horford (“Personal Reasons”)

Tatum said in September he got vaccinated.


Sources told ESPN that Williams is vaccinated.

Brian Robb of MassLive in October:

League sources indicated to that both Horford and Brown suffered breakthrough cases and are vaccinated.

Maybe someone lied/misled. Maybe the Celtics are fully vaccinated and just trying to keep that health information private.

Boston – and Philadelphia – declining comment stands in sharp contrast to Milwaukee and Miami.

The 76ers haven’t played in Toronto since the current regulation took effect. They’re scheduled to play in Toronto on April 7. Philadelphia’s injury report for that game could set off another round of speculation/investigation like Boston is facing.

There’s room to debate whether Canada’s restrictions are overly harsh, especially as coronavirus numbers fall and because unvaccinated NBA players face frequent testing. But, like it or not, NBA teams could face a real predicament.

The Raptors, who’ve won 9 of 11, look increasingly dangerous for the playoffs. If their opponent is missing a key player or two for games in Toronto, that could swing a series.