The Sixers' Tyrese Maxey and Mike Scott received positive COVID-19 tests and have not been with the team at the start of training camp, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. They’re expected to join the team once they clear the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols.
The Athletic’s Derek Bodner first reported the news of Maxey’s positive test and The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey first reported Scott’s positive test.
The 21st pick in this year’s draft, Maxey and fellow rookies Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed officially signed with the team on Thursday. A one-and-done player at Kentucky, the 20-year-old Maxey is a high-energy, hard-working combo guard. The Sixers were very pleased that he fell to them in the draft and envision his speed, shot creation and on-ball defensive talents fitting well in Philadelphia.
Scott, 32, is a fan favorite stretch four who the Sixers acquired in February of 2019 from Doc Rivers’ Clippers. He’s been a well-liked, no-nonsense locker room presence.
The NBA announced earlier this week that 48 of 546 players tested for COVID-19 between Nov. 24 and Nov. 30 returned positive results, an 8.8 percent positivity rate.
According to multiple reports, players must either go at least 10 days since their first positive test or symptom onset, or receive two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart before returning.
After managing to conclude the 2019-20 season in a “bubble” environment at Disney World, the NBA is attempting to play a 72-game schedule in home markets. Rivers is wary of that challenge.
“I’m very concerned if we can pull this off. … If we miss three or four players, we’re in trouble, especially with the amount of games,” he said. “We’re playing three and four games a week, so if one of our guys or two of our key guys get the virus and they miss 10 days to 14 days, that can be eight games. In a 72-game season, that can knock you out of the playoffs. That’s a concern. Our guys’ health is a concern. And that’s tough. As a coach, you want to go in with your team concerns being more (about) basketball, and I think every coach’s concerns right now are probably non-basketball.”
The league’s hope is that daily testing and adherence to its extensive guide of protocols will lessen the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks. The first portion of the regular-season schedule was released on Friday, giving the NBA some degree of flexibility in the event that COVID-19 issues necessitate the postponement of games.
The Sixers’ preseason opener is scheduled for Dec. 15 vs. the Celtics and their regular-season opener is set for Dec. 23 against the Wizards.