76ers

Matisse Thybulle, Ben Simmons and Sixers provide insight into life in NBA 'bubble'

Matisse Thybulle, Ben Simmons and Sixers provide insight into life in NBA 'bubble'

Hearing the Sixers describe their early days inside the NBA’s “bubble” at Disney World, it sounds something like living inside a reality television show.

The team is isolated from the outside world and preparing to perform for the general public’s entertainment. In their downtime, many players have felt as if they’re at summer camp, not an environment created in response to a pandemic. They’re taking part in approved recreational activities while making sure to adhere to the league’s many health and safety regulations. Fishing has been an option some players have enjoyed. 

“The fishing conditions are very good, a lot of largemouth bass,” Ben Simmons said Monday in a video conference call. “I fish a lot so this is what I do every day. I work out, play some video games and fish, so that’s my day-to-day routine. But overall I think everyone is just doing something to be productive in some sort of aspect. 

“I think guys are enjoying it. Myself, personally, I’m just having a good time, getting ready for the games coming up and using the free time to just do something that I enjoy doing. So it’s been good.”

View this post on Instagram

We went fishing for some bass 🎣

A post shared by Ben Simmons (@bensimmons) on

Joel Embiid said Monday he’s enjoying his “big TV and video games. … Just enjoying my time being on FaceTime basically 24/7 and playing video games.”

The NBA and NBPA announced Monday that two players of the 322 tested in Orlando were positive for the coronavirus, and that those players never cleared quarantine. Though many questions linger about the league’s approach, both in terms of efficacy and morality as the NBA ramps up to play in a location where COVID-19 has taken a serious toll on the healthcare system, it seems to have been successful so far in preventing a spread of the coronavirus on the Disney World campus.

Monday, ESPN reported that the Rockets' Bruno Caboclo unintentionally broke quarantine, while former Sixer Richaun Holmes tweeted that he accidentally breached the bubble to pick up a food delivery. Both players were subject to extended time in quarantine. The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Monday that multiple tips have been made to the NBA's anonymous hotline to report protocol violations. 

At least initially, Brett Brown thought his players were doing a good job of following all precautions. 

“How are the players responding? Well," Brown said Sunday. “Do I think it can be maintained? I do, as far as the discipline. We all worry about the virus, in some capacity, sneaking it. But I tell you what, full credit to the NBA for creating this environment, and credit to the players for being — albeit (in early days) — disciplined to do the things that they have asked us to do.”

Rookie Matisse Thybulle’s video series on life in the bubble has provided a look at this unusual existence for players. Thybulle is showing fans everything from testing procedures to practice banter to a masked general manager Elton Brand sinking a jumper. 

“He didn’t get clearance to put me on,” Simmons said with a smile. “I’m going to have to speak to him if he makes any money off it. But I love it, I love that he’s capturing this moment. It’s a historic moment for sports in general. I think what he’s been doing has been great.”

It’s excellent insight from Thybulle into a situation nobody has ever come close to experiencing before. His two videos thus far have totaled over 500,000 views on YouTube, so Simmons may be wise to renegotiate a royalty agreement. 

On a more serious note, Mike Scott on Monday summed up life in the bubble well. He has no complaints.

“I just know how to adapt to situations I’m in,” he said. “It’s not that bad. The hotel room is good, food is solid. It’s just basketball after that. It feels like camp, like a basketball camp. You go from your room to the court from the court to your room, see some players here and there, but for the most part, I’m not really tripping. It’s straight, it’s cool.”

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Sixers injury update: Joel Embiid (left ankle) out against Suns; Ben Simmons has surgery

Sixers injury update: Joel Embiid (left ankle) out against Suns; Ben Simmons has surgery

The Sixers’ injury update on Monday was a long one. 

Joel Embiid is out for Tuesday’s game against the Suns with the left ankle injury he sustained in the first quarter Sunday vs. the Blazers. He’ll be undergoing treatment and evaluation at the team’s practice Monday night.

Brett Brown wasn’t sure if Embiid would play Wednesday vs. the Raptors, but he expects the three-time All-Star to appear again before the postseason and indicated he doesn't view the injury as serious. The Sixers’ last seeding contest has been officially assigned for Friday at 9 p.m. against the Rockets. 

“I do expect him to,” Brown said. “That’s just one man’s opinion. Nobody’s doing cartwheels over, ‘It’s something severe,’ one. Two, I do believe it would be good for him to play before the playoffs begin.”

Josh Richardson, who scored 34 points against Portland, will rest Tuesday. Tobias Harris is questionable with right ankle soreness and Al Horford is questionable with left knee soreness. Harris hasn’t missed a game this season, while Horford said in July, “I probably wasn’t where I wanted to be” physically earlier in the season but felt “in a much better place” after being able to rest during the NBA’s hiatus. 

The length of the injury report is not surprising after Brown on Sunday seemed receptive when asked about possibly restricting minutes for key players in the team’s final three seeding games.

“I think it’s true ... where you want an honest sort of medical assessment of anything that equals a potential problem — you just want to avoid (it),” he said. “And landing the plane and entering the playoffs from this vision line of a bubble and time off and tiptoeing on pins and needles where you don’t want people to get injured, and then still find a rhythm, that’s a slippery slope. 

“You mentioned Jo. I think the question extends to people like Al Horford, as an example. Making sure Tobias is in a place where we can manage his minutes going forward and still find that balance of trying to compete and find a rhythm.”

Ben Simmons was the other player on Monday’s report. 

The 24-year-old had successful surgery to remove a loose body in his left knee, the team said, performed by Dr. Chris Dodson from Rothman Orthopaedic Institute. He’ll begin rehabilitation in Philadelphia immediately and will have a post-operative evaluation in approximately two weeks. 

Mike Scott, who missed the Sixers’ first three seeding games with right knee soreness, said he’s feeling well now. He saw time as a small-ball center against the Trail Blazers, scoring nine points and grabbing four rebounds, and will likely assume a key role on Tuesday.

“Just a little swelling,” he said of his knee. “Had to get it drained, so it was kind of holding me down a little bit, but it feels better now. Got it drained, so feeling a lot better.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Sixers Talk podcast: A lot more questions than answers right now

getty-joel-embiid-injury.jpg
NBCSP/Getty Images

Sixers Talk podcast: A lot more questions than answers right now

On this edition of the Sixers Talk podcast, we discuss the health of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, whether the All-Star duo should stay together and much more.

(0:32) — Embiid suffers an injury and Lillard drops 51.
(9:16) — Don't expect a deep playoff run.
(14:30) — More pressure on Shake Milton or Josh Richardson going forward?
(21:41) — Will Brett Brown get a pass if the Sixers don't succeed?
(34:39) — Here we go with the trading Embiid or Simmons talk again.

Subscribe and rate Sixers Talk: 
Apple Podcasts / Google Play / Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers