Eight Sixers have been ruled out for the team's game Monday against the Hawks, including Ben Simmons.
Simmons did not travel with the team to Atlanta and will receive treatment on his knee, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. He’ll be evaluated day to day, Charania reports.
Joel Embiid (back tightness) has been upgraded to probable. Mike Scott is probable, as well. He was technically active Saturday but head coach Doc Rivers said he did not feel Scott was fit to play, with the 32-year-old having missed the prior four games with a left knee contusion.
As for Simmons, Rivers indicated his left knee injury occurred Thursday in Brooklyn.
“It has nothing to do with they’re just not playing,” Rivers said. “Ben in the Brooklyn game had some knee stiffness. So we almost probably knew after the game that he wouldn’t play tonight. And then Joel started complaining about his back — started yesterday. And we didn’t know if he was playing or not but honestly, with the minutes we would have to ask (from him), it would be insane to play him tonight.”
In August, Simmons had surgery to remove a loose body from his left knee, missing the remainder of the 2019-20 season. He said during training camp that his health was at “100 percent” and that he felt stronger and more explosive. Through the Sixers’ first nine games, he’d averaged 13.4 points, 8.8 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks.
Seth Curry, Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle and Vincent Poirier are out because of the NBA's health and safety protocols. The Sixers learned that Curry tested positive for COVID-19 during their game Thursday against the Nets. It's currently unclear how long the other four players will be sidelined.
"They were, I think, at a table (with Curry)," Rivers said. "It wasn’t, like, close contact, so maybe that’ll shorten their days (out). I don’t know that; I don’t know anything about any of this."
Additionally, Furkan Korkmaz and Terrance Ferguson are still out because of a left adductor strain and personal reasons, respectively.
After Monday’s game in Atlanta, a mini-series at Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday and Thursday vs. the Heat is next on the 7-3 Sixers’ schedule. NBA teams must have at least eight active players in order to play.
Notably, the Heat are among the other teams dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Miami’s scheduled game Sunday against Boston has been postponed because the Heat did not meet the eight-player minimum due to ongoing contact tracing with the team, the NBA announced. It remains to be seen how the Heat's situation might affect the Sixers.
Embiid does not seem pleased with how the league is handling things.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reports the NBA has no plans to pause the season despite the recent increase in COVID-19-related absences.