Ben Simmons Ruled OUT vs Hawks
Ben Simmons will miss his second straight game of the 2020-21 season. The situation that unfolded over the weekend doesn’t seem to be getting much better as the 76ers travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks tonight. Although Simmons was NOT one of the players ruled out due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, he has been reportedly dealing with swelling in his knee, which started during a lackluster performance last Thursday night vs Brooklyn.
Simmons remains day-to-day moving forward and did not travel with the team to Atlanta. Joel Embiid did travel with the team and is probable for the game. Embiid also sat out vs the Nuggets due to back soreness. As we all know, the Nuggets game was pretty much a disaster but at no fault to the Sixers, who only had seven available players. Mike Scott, who is also injured, simply dressed so the Sixers would have enough bodies to play the game and avoid a forfeit. To make things even more confusing, the NBA announced today that they would postpone the Celtics vs Heat game because the Heat weren’t able to dress enough players due to COVID.
Why the Sixers weren’t granted a postponement of their game is beyond me.
There’s really only one answer:
Working through roster issues and COVID-19 protocols is just something the NBA is adamant on dealing with but there certainly needs to be some consistency with their decisions. The entire situation reminds me of the start of the MLB season where everything seemed to be a complete and utter disaster. The only difference is that the Phillies were actually a disaster and the Sixers were off to one of their best starts in recent memory.
The Sixers will at least have Embiid available if he’s healthy enough to play. I would not be surprised if Doc Rivers looks at the players he has available and decides it’s not worth racking up minutes on Embiid. The best version of Joel Embiid is an angry, tweeting, motivated to prove everyone wrong Embiid. If his tweets are any indication of his current state of mind, which I believe they are, we have just that.
Players on Health and Safety Protocol:
- Seth Curry (unknown timeline)
- Shake Milton (out seven days)
- Tobias Harris (out seven days)
- Matisse Thybulle (out seven days)
- Vincent Poirier (out seven days)
- Terrance Ferguson (personal)
Mike Scott who was dressed but not playing Saturday, will be available tonight. The addition of Embiid and Scott to the lineup the Sixers ran with on Saturday will certainly be helpful. The Atlanta Hawks have definitely cooled down after a hot start to the season. Anytime you have Embiid playing, you have a shot to win. Of course, we can expect a heavy dose of Tyrese Maxey and Isaiah Joe over the next week, which isn’t all that bad but definitely a tough pill to swallow for a team and fanbase with championship aspirations.
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY