NBA All-Star Game: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons may miss game after barber tests positive for COVID

Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons may be unable to play in Sunday’s All-Star Game in Atlanta because of a coronavirus contact tracing issue

The Associated Press March 07, 2021 22:32:26 IST
NBA All-Star Game: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons may miss game after barber tests positive for COVID

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid dunks the ball during the game against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday. AP Photo

Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons may be unable to play in Sunday’s All-Star Game in Atlanta because of a coronavirus contact tracing issue, 76ers coach Doc Rivers said.

If cleared to play, Embiid would be a starter for Team Durant, which will be coached by Rivers. Simmons is a reserve for Team LeBron. The NBA and the 76ers learned of the situation on Saturday night, Rivers said, and the league was in the process Sunday of determining what to do next.

“I would say it’s not looking great,” Rivers said.

A person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press that the contact was with a barber who is regularly tested for COVID-19 and often works with Embiid and Simmons. Both Embiid and Simmons saw the barber in recent days and have continued to test negative, said the person, who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Sunday because those details were not released publicly.

In past cases where contact tracing has detected an issue, players have been cleared when the suspected positive person’s subsequent tests have come back negative for COVID-19.

The Athletic and ESPN first reported that Embiid’s and Simmons’ status were in doubt for Sunday’s game.

Many NBA players have missed several days this season after contact tracing issues, which means a player has been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The NBA goes through a process of determining if a player has been exposed; it can take a day or more before determining how long — or if — the player must quarantine and be away from his team.

Philadelphia, who entered the break with the best record in the Eastern Conference, open the season's second half on Thursday in Chicago.

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