Simmons, Embiid Forced out of All-Star Game after Contact Tracing

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing, the annual NBA All-Star Game went on. Included on the teams were Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Just a few hours before the game was scheduled to start, the duo was informed that they would be required to sit out of the game and quarantine due to contact tracing protocols.

It turned out that the duo’s barber had tested positive for COVID-19. As such, they would have to sit out awaiting tests to confirm that they were both negative for the virus. Both had totally avoided contact with anyone else after their barber, and so no more quarantines were required.

It’s a huge relief that the contact was caught before Embiid and Simmons made it onto the court of the game itself. All of a sudden, the best 24 players in the NBA would have been ruled out for at least 1 game due to the contact with the two. It could have been a major disaster for the league. Instead, both players will miss at least one game, and potentially more.

Embiid is still on pace for an MVP-level season, averaging 30 points per game and 51% from the field. Simmons is also having a solid year, especially on the defensive end. He is a top candidate for Defensive Player of the Year, along with Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert.

Sixers coach Doc Rivers was also present at the All-Star game, coaching Team Durant in a 170-150 loss to Team Lebron.

— Martin Heintzelman