Sixers

Maxey ruled out for first time this season; Hornets now down five players

Sixers

Tyrese Maxey was ruled out approximately 90 minutes before the Sixers' Monday night matchup with the Hornets because of a non-COVID illness.

The second-year guard had played in every one of the Sixers' first 23 games, recording 17.2 points, 4.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds per contest. Shake Milton, Seth Curry and Furkan Korkmaz are the ball handlers besides Maxey in the Sixers' rotation who might feature more than usual in Charlotte. 

After he missed Friday's win over the Hawks with a non-COVID illness, Tobias Harris is available to play, according to a team official.

Meanwhile, the Hornets' COVID-19 situation has not improved since the team entered four players into the NBA's health and safety protocols Saturday.

Charlotte announced that Ish Smith has also been added to the league's protocols. He'll miss Monday night's game, along with LaMelo Ball, Terry Rozier, Mason Plumlee and Jalen McDaniels.

Smith started the Hornets' shorthanded win Sunday in Atlanta. He scored 18 points and dished out seven assists.

Hornets head coach James Borrego told reporters in Charlotte that the team would divvy up ball handling duties "by committee." The Hornets called up all of their G League assignees after Saturday's news, including rookie guard James Bouknight, as well as two-way players Scottie Lewis and Arnoldas Kulboka. 

Despite Maxey's absence, the Sixers are clearly the healthier team heading into a two-game mini-series that will conclude Wednesday. They dealt with similar issues as Charlotte last month when Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Isaiah Joe and Joel Embiid entered health and safety protocols between Nov. 1 and Nov. 8.